Meat Fruit!?

by Barry Lewis


For the pate

100g Shallots – finely chopped

3g minced garlic.

15g sprigs of fresh thyme

150g Dry madeira

150g Ruby Port

75g White Port

50g Brandy

18g salt

400g of Chicken livers

240g eggs, beaten

300g unsalted butter

For the mandarin coating

45g gelatine leaf

500g Mandarin puree

80g  Liquid Glucose

0.4g Orange extract

Alright so this is probably the longest ‘Barry tries’ recipe attempt to date… the series in which I try popular recipes online or by established chefs. This time it’s Heston Blumenthal and ‘meat fruit’ which is actually a chicken liver pate really but presented to look like a fruit, it was flavour packed, took 5 days, although could have been a bit shorter, but was it worth it!? Find out!

If you fancy following the steps, here’s what I did.

First up is the easiest bit… stick the garlic, thyme and shallots in a sealable tub with the ports, brandy and madeira… don’t drink it! Leave it overnight to get to know eachother on the worktop counter.

The next day warm the mixture in a pan, it won’t take long, simmer it until most of the liquid has reduced down creating an extremely intense flavour! Leave just a little bit say a few teaspoons of the liquid in the bottom. Remove and take out the herbs too as they won’t be needed now.

Warm an oven to 210f/100c/Gas ½ fill a bain marie with about 5 cms of warm water and place into the oven.

Meanwhile get a big pan of over water to a steady temperature of 50c – I used a sous vide for this or you’ll have to keep an eye on it regularly. Get 3 ziplock plastic bags – one with the chicken livers in, put some salt in with this and then zip up removing as much air as possible, then put the beaten eggs in with the port mixture, mix gently, then zip up again removing air, in the last bag add the butter, removing air as much as possible. All 3 bags need to go into the big pan for at least 25 minutes, you should see in this time a change in the liver mixture….. make sure all bags are submerged in the water at 50c.

Once done put all the 3 bag contents into a food processor and whizz up to a puree, pass through a sieve and pour into a loaf tin and cover with foil. Cook in the water bath in the oven until the temperature of the mix hits 64C – test using a thermometer every 20 minutes or so, but will take at least an hour.

After you hit this temperature, take it out the oven to cool to room temperature, cover it in foil, then place in the fridge to firm up overnight.

Next day when it is firmed up you can shape them into the orange shapes. Stick the mixture into some semi circle moulds ensuring they are flush and scrape off any excess to make them flat on the tops. Once you’ve filled the mould stick in the freezer overnight to firm up fully.

After they have set, take one half of the frozen half ball, warm it up over a candle or chefs blow torch and press the other half together. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the freezer to firm up as a whole ball! Repeat with the other halves but do stick a bamboo skewer through them as they firm up to make dunking tomorrow easier!

The final day we make the jelly! Soften the gelatine in a jug of water to allow it to soften, whilst that is happening warm the mandarin puree gently in a saucepan and add the glucose, stirring it together.

Drain the gelatin once softened and add it to the hot puree and stir until it’s fully dissolved. Add in the orange extract at the end, stirring through. Place the jelly mix in the fridge to start to set!

When it comes to dunking them be sure to have a way to prop up the balls as they get dunked, like some polystyrene. Warm the jelly mix up so it is manouverable but not hot, around 30c or under. Remove one ball at a time and dunk them, removing the cling film and holding by the bamboo skewer of course. The coolness of the ball will help to set the jelly almost immediately, so hold it above, then redunk after 30 seconds to get a good coating. Then stick the orange ball upturned into the polystyrene! Repeat with all the other balls on sticks!

All you need to do now is let the centres defrost, you can do this at room temperature, or keep them chilled in the fridge as they taste best that way still chilled. Add some bay leaves to the top of the balls and press down gently with a finger to make an orange shape. Serve it with some sourdough toast and see what you think! Pretty bonkers for 5 days work, you could save some time for sure, but if you want to just experiment with it, take your time and have fun 🙂