To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced almost by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Score the fat on the duck breasts, making a diamond pattern. Season the duck on all sides with the Essence, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 tesapoon of the pepper. To a hot saute pan, add duck, skin side down and cook until fat is rendered and skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the duck over and brush with the apricot glaze, cook another 5 minutes, for medium-rare.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until almost caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and when melted, add the sugar and cook until melted. Add the apples, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, and cook until caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the Calvados and thyme to the apples, and cook, scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.
Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve the duck with the caramelized apples and the remaining apricot glaze.
Yield: 8 servings