“Meat Fruit” – Making a Heston favourite at home.

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.

99 thoughts on ““Meat Fruit” – Making a Heston favourite at home.

  1. That’s extraordinary, you definitely deserve to jump to the front of the queue. What dedication. You should make sure Heston knows about this, perhaps I can help with that.

  2. Wow… that’s dedication! Seriously impressive – although I’m not daring enough to embark on a 5 day mission to try to recreate this (even with the aid of your amazing and helpful recipe), I’d love to know how yours compares to the real thing. It certainly looks just as good! :) Hope you get to taste Heston’s version soon!

  3. He dude, these would indeed be awesome as a starter on Christmas, although I’m sure someone will be clever enough to sell them in the supermarket. More importantly, are they tasty?

    Love the last pic.

    • Hey , thanks Auldo , yeah i`m just thinking xmas day…would be awesome.Trouble is finding the right sized moulds.The ones i found were more like orange sized.They were silicone and are meant to be used to make “soap on a rope” but really effective and cheap too.Need to search for smaller ones next time. cheers Alan
      and yes….gorgeous pate.

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  5. We have, after much effort, got a booking at Dinner, but I am keen to have a go at meat fruit, also finding it difficult to find mandarin puree, so delighted to find your site (no sous vide) . Where did you manage to get dome moulds? Also having trouble with this. Grateful for any suggestions.

    Alix

  6. This is so cool. Well Done! I saved the recipe and will have to try giving it a shot since I have about 1200gr of organic chicken livers sitting in my freezer and need to be used. Problem is what to do with the rest of them?? Maybe roll in bread crumbs and deep fry quickly to servee with a good spicy dipping sauce.

  7. I know the answer must seem obvious, but, unfortunately for me it is not. I have never eaten pate either so I am really at a loss. Please tell me is this meant to be eaten cold, it seems as if you warm it the coating would melt off. But, is it good cold? You did the whole presentation for us, but, you didn’t say if it tast good. Also, why did you say this is best served at xmas, is it something that would not be considered enjoyable any other time of year? Thank you in advance for your answers.

    • Definitely a good idea to eat this cold , the pates are dipped at 28 deg and then immediately placed into the fridge again.Ive never known anyone to eat warm pate either so really not a good idea.The whole thing is very xmas and a fantastic festive starter.Of course you could eat it seven days a week but its kind of a special occasion one for me.Oh and as for the taste, its very WOW, creamy smooth pate and a tangy citrus jelly spread onto warm brioche or sourdough bread….definitely well worth the effort.

  8. I also meant to add your ingredients are in g’s (45g) for instance, Im not sure what that would equate to in teaspoons -tsp, tablespoons -tbs and/or cups. Can you please help me understand? I have been following the foodnetwork and other recipes online, with good results and would like to try my hand at this you did such a great job, you have peaked my interest. I like to get out of my comfort zone and try new things and this looks like an awesome challenge for a mother of five trying to wow her family. So if you can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You, L.J

    • As always , Heston only measures in g`s.I think the quantities are far too critical to measure in anything else other than grammes.I just got a set of scales off ebay , really cheap and if youre gonna attempt this kind of thing then you really do need to invest in scientific scales….just like Hestie ;-)

  9. Stunning! Just read a review of Dinner in the NYtimes and was intrigued by the description of this dish. It’s amazing that you were able to create it yourself. The effort to achieve the trompe l’oeil is daunting, but the flavor combination seems fantastic. Worth making the chicken parfait with some jelly alongside?

    • Absolutely , well worth it.Try and get fresh livers if you can.Mine turned out ever so slightly too `wet` but wonderful flavour.As for making them seperate…..Nah , just jump into the deep end, it was good fun.

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  12. It wouldnt surprise me…but i really dont think it has to be honest., i ate it slowly and very carefully , analysing every mouthful….i didnt get any foie gras flavours at all….and to be honest , it doest need any.
    cheers.

    • I thought your “meat fruits” looked amazing and so like the ones at Dinner. I was lucky enough to go there in April and it was fantastic. I am going to have a go for New year’s Eve but am having difficulty finding the paprika extract and the right size moulds. Please could you tell me where I can find them. The homechocolate factory seem to sell some moulds but they are £100- a bit expensive I think!

      • The Paprika extract doesnt add a lot to the flavour of the jelly , its more of a “friendly” way to get the correct orange colour.It`s actually available from Neals yard in covent garden but i used orange food colouring.
        As for the moulds… £10 from the homechocolatefactory… black silicone and ive just taken delivery of some smaller ones for my meat fruit xmas day starter.

      • Thanks for the information. One more question- I can’t find fresh mandarin oranges. Would satsummas be ok or even tinned mandarin oranges in fruit juice.

      • OH JEEZ…Dont go using tinned ones Sarah.Ive just been to Lidl and bought a couple of bags of Clementines to use for mine…which im starting on Sunday.

  13. I was lucky enough to eat at dinner last night and I had Hestons meat fruit for my starter and It was fantastic. I have to say these look exactly the same as the one i had last night and I cant wait to try making them myself……. well done they look terriffic

  14. fantastic blog! and what a great looking recipe for meat fruit. I had this at dinner and was blown away, but after reading your review of dinner you said your recipe would have to settle for a silver medal. now you’ve eaten the real thing do you know what you’d change? i was blown away by how creamy heston’s tasted but am definitely going to try your recipe myself, was just wondering if you’d tweaked it at all. thanks

    • Hi , my recipe for the meat fruit was exactly as it was written down on the internet.I followed it to the letter almost.The colour of my finished parfait was different to the restaurant version.This i put down to the fact that i didnt put any preservative ( nitrates) in my version as i couldnt get hold of any.The nitrates preserve the colour and stop it from oxidising. Cheers and let me know how you got on please.

  15. Just about to give this a go for a Jubilee party. You say it makes 6 portions, do you mean it makes 6 pate halves (e.g. 3 fruits’ worth)?

    • The quantities will make 6 full fruits. Saying that , my moulds were way too big ( 7 cm ) and they turned out meat ” oranges” The second time i used different size moulds ( 6 cm ) and to be honest they were still a bit on the large size ( i got 8 fruits ). Next time ill use 5cm silicone moulds and that should make roughly 10 – 12 fruits of the perfect size.

      • I had already been eyeing up 7cm moulds, but I am envisaging these being shared among people at a party so I think I might get away with it. I am also going for a vegetarian version so I will definitely let you know how they turn out. Thanks CF!

      • Believe me….theyre too big.
        One theyre dipped twice in the puree youll see for yourself , theyre as big as a good size orange.
        Go for a happy medium and try the 6cm ones.

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  17. I have just started making these. I have mixed the booze and onions to marinade for 24 hours. When you reduced the mixture did you flambé it? Also I am using sous vide and a water bath. I was going to vacuum seal the three bags and bath them at 50C. Then for the second cook I am planning on sealing the whole lot in a sous vide bag and bathing at 64C. I am sure it will bring the same result. Great blog by the way. I had this at Dinner the other week and am looking forward to trying my own version a lot :o)

    • Hi Ben , no i just reduced the piquid , not flambe.
      You need to cook them in the bags simply to get them to the correct temperature , them liquidize then pour into the terrine to cook.

    • Hi Ben , no i just reduced the liquid , not flambe.
      You need to cook them in the bags simply to get them to the correct temperature , them liquidize then pour into the terrine to cook.

      • Thanks for the reply. So you think the bain marie makes a difference to the cooking. Or do you think cooking in the water bath to reach 64C will have the same effect? Thanks again Ben

      • First stage , the bain marie is used to get everything up to temperature…the onions , the livers , egg and butter.
        Second stage….liquidize the bags contents all together , then pass
        third stage – pour everything into the terrine and cook in the oven in a water bath and then allow to cool.
        you need to cook in the bain marie in the oven wrapped in foil until the pate is cooked right through .Then allow to cool and place in the fridge to set.
        be warned….it oxides very fast so use some salt petre if need be.

  18. You have not created the surface of the madarine skin to be looked like the mandarin which is slightly rough and tiny hole on it. I would be grateful if you could tell me how it is done. When I had it at Heston’s restaurant it’s skin was just like a real mandarine not smooth gelatine skin!!

    • Hi sacha , i tried to create the same speckled skin with one of my fruits and it ended up ruined.
      The secret i believe is to put them into the freezer so the jelly freezes once they are dipped. The result of the freezing is to damage the jelly…..i obviously done something wrong.
      Maybe a Heston secret ?

  19. looks freaking amazing! never in a million years would I dare to attempt that! what thermometer did you use (saw in one of the pics)? planning to get one for making macarons with the italian meringue method. any advice or suggestions? thanks.

  20. Brilliant. And have you by any chance tried the duck mousse in orange jelly recipe from Heston’s Feast? I want to try it.

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  22. Hello, great recipe. One of the things that really impressed me when I tried this at Hestons was how cold it was when served, but not frozen. If I’m serving this on Xmas day, when’s the best time to do the last stage? Can I prepare the day before and leave in the fridge, will it still be really cold, or would I be best dipping about 10am Xmas day and then defrosting for the 6 hours. Cheers

    • id dip them xmas eve night then leave them to defrost overnight in the fridge.press them into shape xmas morning and all should be well. I believe they freeze them with the jelly on at hestons to get the peel effect. i tried it and mine failed.

  23. Hi mate. Nice work here. Have just finished making this and found that the jelly is way too thick. I was wondering what grade gelatin u used? I have used titanium and it is really hard. Thanks for your help

      • Thanks for that. No Tesco down here though it makes me miss London. I will just play around with it till I get the consistency I remember it having. Cheers and thanks again

  24. I have the opportunity to taste that superb entry at Dinner last month, and congratulation for you, well done. You encourage me doing as my Christmas main entrance over here at Floripa – SC-Brasil.

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  27. Amazing guide! I couldnt stop thinking about making “meat fruit” myself after I read your blog. I tried the mandarin puree which turned out disastrous. Dont know what I did wrong but the puree was completely unedible. I tasted very bitter and the smell was kind of odd. I was wondering if you have to peel the mandarins after cooking since I heard that the white parts below the orange skin taste bitter. It also came out very thick, more like a paste than a puree. Did you use some special variety of mandarin?

    • Yeah , its trial and error i`m afraid. Mine was bitter both times because i boiled the mandarins in their skins then liquidized and sieved.Next time i make it ill just peel the fruit first and try it that way using only the flesh.Itll be a lot sweeter then.
      The Mandarins i used were straight from the supermarket.

  28. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  29. Hi, I am planning on making these for a starter one day soon and was wondering if you could answer a few queries. For the Mandarin Puree do you boil them with the skins on, peel them and blitz without the skin? and what does the mandarin oil bring to the dish, as i cannot find any and am considering leaving it out of the dish?

    • I just made these and to make the purée I took the skin off, boiled down and then puréed them. Finally put it brought a sieve. It didnt have any of the bitterness issues others have reported so i am sticking with that way of doing it from now on.

      The mandrain oil I found on eBay for a couple of quid and it did make a big difference to the taste and aroma. I left out the liquid glucose though and had no ill effects in terms of outcome.

  30. I think (and assume) the restaurant uses a commercial fruit purée. Those are pretty much just blended pulp, not heated or reduced. Those pureés are also quite runny. When I made this dish I heated/puréed whole mandarins, so the pureé ended up too thick. I would go for a commercial puree (like Boiron), or just blend/sieve the fresh pulp.

  31. Hi,
    I ate a Heston’s Dinner a few nights ago and had the meat fruit. Im now intent on recreating them! I am planning on making these for Wednesday next week. I have bought all of the necessary equipment and ingredients!
    May I just ask which kind of mandarin oil you used? As the only one I can seem to find is an essential oil and I’m not sure if this is suitable for cooking?
    Also I have read from the comments it would be ok to make the mandarin purée without the peel?
    Thanks a lot and massive respect and gratitude for making them yourself so well and posting the recipe!
    Georgia

    • Hi Georgia ,
      Yes , its the Mandarin essential oil , basically just pure oils from the citrus skins.I got mine off ebay.
      The puree seems to be a little bit of a discussion point….definitely do not use the skins. Next time I make it im just gonna peel the mandarins and then puree them in a processor. The skins make the puree far too bitter.
      Good luck , its really fun making them and youll definitely wow your guests….Go girl go. ;-)

      • Perfect I have just ordered some now!
        I’m going to remove all the pith to stop it being bitter and perhaps add a splash of Cointreau, what do you think?
        Very excited to get started tomorrow! If it all goes to plan I shall be sure to post a picture!

  32. I am serving my meat fruit tonight…and success! They have all gone perfectly and I even managed to get the peel effect on my jelly! More so than Heston’s!
    Also I first made my mandarin puree without the peel on as suggested but found that it was still very bitter…
    So I made it again with just the simmered peel and also some fresh madarin segments and no bitterness at all!! Plus it tasted much nicer!

  33. I am literally in the middle of making this and your pictures and everything else are going to help enormously! We are serving this as a canapé at a friend’s house at Xmas day lunch. What did you serve with it?

  34. So I have just made the pate for a party tomorrow and noticed that there was a red blood color is sections of the cooked pate. I dont recall getting this last time I made it. It took 2.5 hours for the parfait to get to temperature but I am paranoid about making people sick. Just wondering if anyone else has had this? And if you think its safe to eat. Thanks again

  35. made this for a weekend dinner party… i would say pink good ….. red / bloody bad, as i worry about food posing i took mine up to 65 at the centre BUT think a better option that i will try next time is as Ben suggests cooking in sous vide set to 65 , then no way to over cook and can garantte temp achievd throught.

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