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.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking , by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.