Mandarin ” Meat fruit ” filled with a surprise Chicken liver parfait.
The word ”Heston” seems to be rapidly becoming a household name of late. A new series on the T.V., daily appearances in the National press, Blumenthal supermarket grub and a second restaurant just opened in Londons Mandarin oriental hotel.I was really excited when i heard Heston was opening “Dinner” , his new eaterie with head chef Ashley Palmer Watts in command.I was really hoping to get on the phone and get a date for a table without any problems but due to the enormous P.R. drive it unfortunately ended up with bookings taking off ,long waiting lists, and even tables being auctioned off on ebay. Demand was so high for a prized seat that within no time a 3 month waiting list was formed bringing “dinner” on par with Hestons flagship restaurant ” The fat Duck” in Bray.So bad news for me…I`ll have to join the queue like everyone else , book 3 months ahead of when i want to eat…expect long holds on the phone and hope for the best.
One of the most popular and exciting new dishes on the new “dinner” menu is the “meat fruit”, apparently it dates back to medieval times and has been brought back to light in a recent Heston t.v. series of fabulous feasts.Meat fruit consists of a tangy outside layer of Mandarin jelly encasing a delicate silken Chicken liver parfait.It looks fantastic and was definitely my number one choice of starter at the new place when i visited.Unfortunately with the long waiting list i decided i couldnt wait that long so decided to give it a go myself….surely it couldnt be that difficult…..or could it ? and so the adventure begins.
The recipe is in 2 parts ,the first part being the pate and the second the Mandarin jelly.I based it all over a 6 day period , start to finish with a little something to do each day so i`ll write the method up using the 6 day format.
Here`s what you`ll need to make the Chicken liver parfait.The recipe makes 6 portions with the moulds that i used.
100g of Shallots – finely sliced.
3g of minced garlic.
15g sprigs of fresh Thyme, tied together with string
150g of Dry madeira
150g of Ruby Port
75g of White Port
50g of Brandy
18g of table salt
400g of Chicken livers ( trimmed weight )
240g of beaten eggs
300g of unsalted butter.
DAY 1 Place the Shallots , Garlic and Thyme in a container with the Madeira , Ruby and white Port and the Brandy and set aside overnight ( or up to 24 hours ) to marinate.
DAY 2 Heat the marinated mixture in a small saucepan until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and approximately only a tablespoon or so remains.Stir regularly as the liquid is reducing so nothing sticks and burns on the bottom of the pan.Remove from the heat and then discard the bunch of Thyme.
Preheat the oven to 100 deg C , fill a bain marie with about 5 cms of warm water and place into the oven.Get a large pan of water and place over the heat until it reaches a temperature of 50 deg C , regulate the heat until it stabilizes at this temperature. Sprinkle the table salt over the chicken livers and then put them into a plastic freezer bag and tie in a firm knot.( make sure all of the air is out of the bag before tying ).
Place the eggs and alcohol reduction mixture into a second bag , remove the air and tie tightly again.
Place the butter in a third bag , remove the air and also tie this bag very tightly.Place the three bags into the water bath for 20 minutes, keeping the temperature at 50 deg C.
Remove the bags from the water bath , cut them open and place the contents of all three bags into a plastic container ( or a food processor ). Blitz them on full power until they reach the consistency of a fine puree.
Pass the mixture through a chinoise or a fine sieve to remove any stray pieces and sinews.
Pour the parfait mixture into a terrine dish or in my case , a non stick loaf tin.Tap gently to settle out any bubbles and then cover the parfait with silver foil.Gently carry this to the oven and the waiting water bath. Cook gently in the oven until the internal temperature of the parfait reaches 64 deg C. I used a digital probe thermometer for this and it took approximately 1 -1/4 hours at 100 deg c to reach this temperature.
Once cooked , remove the parfait from the oven and then allow it to cool.Transfer to the fridge and allow to firm up for 24 hours.
DAY 3 – To make the fruits , using a spoon , scoop out the pate and use it to fill the half dome moulds.I got these moulds off ebay, theyre made of silicone and slightly on the large side but im happy to eat large mandarin size pates any day.
Level off the tops of the moulds with a spatula to make them as smooth as possible.Dont forget that the 2 halves need to stick together perfectly so take care in levelling them.Place a piece of plastic wrap gently over the surface of the parfaits and place into the freezer to solidify into shape until completely frozen.
DAY 4 Remove the silicone moulds from the freezer and carefully unmould the parfait halves.Gently heat the flat surface of one parfait half with a blowtorch to slightly melt the frozen pate and press the 2 halfs gently together.Cover the ball with cling film and twist together tightly to seal.Place back into the freezer to set the halves into a ball shape.I placed a small bamboo skewer into the parfaits at this stage to aid with the “dipping” later.
DAY 5 To make the Mandarin jelly.
45g of Leaf Gelatine
500g of Mandarin puree
80g of Liquid Glucose
0.4g of Mandarin oil
1.5g of Paprika extract. ( or Orange colouring if you cant find the paprika extract )
I couldn`t find mandarin puree anywhere so ended up having to make my own. I simply took 5 fresh mandarins , and very gently simmered them for 2 hours in a pan of water.I drained the water off and then blitzed the mandarins with a stick blender to puree them.The puree was then passed through a fine sieve and there i had my puree.I then weighed out the 500g that i needed.
The leaf gelatine was added to a jug of water to allow it to soften for five minutes.While the gelatine was softening i added the glucose to the hot mandarin puree and stirred it together.After 5 minutes i drained the gelatine and added it to the hot puree and stirred to dissolve.The Mandarin oil and paprika extract were then added to the puree.The jelly can now be stored in the fridge until the parfaits are ready to dip.
So on to the dipping stage of the recipe.Gently warm the Mandarin jelly in a small saucepan until it melts back to a liquid.Allow the jelly to cool to room temperature ( 28 deg C ) .Remove the clingfilm from the frozen parfait ball and holding the bamboo skewer, carefully dip the whole parfait ball into the Mandarin jelly.Allow the excess to drip off and place the skewer into a piece of polystyrene to allow the jelly to set.This will take literally 30 seconds because of the frozen parfait.
My jelly was quite a thick mixture , it probably should have been a lot more liquid in its consistency but i didnt have a recipe for mandarin puree so i just made it up as i went along.I dipped the balls in the jelly twice more.Once would have been enough so proceed with this in mind.
Place the balls back into the fridge preferably in a lidded container and allow them to slowly defrost for at least 6 hours….or overnight.
DAY 5 Once the Mandarin parfaits are defrosted , remove them from the fridge.Place your thumb on the top and gently press down on the jelly to create a flattened indent.This creates the realistic mandarin shape and stops them looking too rounded.To finish the fruits off I used bayleaves , fresh from the tree as my mandarin fruit was brought to life.Little cloves could also be used to create a realistic finish.
It was definitely well worth the time and effort to make these “meat fruits” , they would be fantastic served up as a starter on xmas day.Try and get the correct sized moulds if you can as the ones that i got were pretty big and a little too big for a starter portion….Good luck with your efforts and enjoy the experience.Hopefully ill get to taste the “real deal” soon.