This article comes in 3-parts:
- The original Heston Blumenthal Meat Fruit recipe, as published in The Guardian (2010).
- The ADJUSTED recipe for home cooks — complete with step-by-step pictures and simplified instructions. Click this link for the Heston Blumenthal Meat Fruit recipe on it’s own.
- Footnotes: Ingredients, Equipment, Technique, Questions
1. Heston Blumenthal Meat Fruit Recipe ORIGINAL
This recipe makes one 26 x 10 x 9cm terrine.
Heston Blumenthal makes this with foie gras and chicken livers, but advises home cooks to use just chicken livers.
For the chicken liver parfait:
100g shallots, finely sliced
3g minced garlic
15g sprigs of thyme, tied with string
150g dry Madeira
150g ruby port
75g white port
18g table salt
400g chicken livers (trimmed weight)
300g unsalted butter, melted
Place the shallots, garlic and thyme in a saucepan with the Madeira, ruby port, white port and brandy. Set aside to marinate for 24 hours.
Heat the marinated mixture until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, stirring regularly to prevent the shallots and garlic from burning. Remove from the heat and discard the thyme.
Preheat the oven to 100C/gas mark ¼. Fill a bain-marie with 5cm water and place in the oven.
Preheat a water bath to 50C.
Sprinkle the table salt over the livers and put them in a sous-vide bag. Put the eggs and the alcohol reduction in a second sous-vide bag, and the butter in a third. Seal all the bags under full pressure, then place in the water bath for 20 minutes. Remove the bags from the water bath.
Combine the eggs, alcohol reduction and meat in a Thermomix and blend until smooth at 50C. Slowly blitz in the butter and blend until smooth. Pass the mix through a fine sieve using the back of a small ladle.
Pour into a terrine dish and place in a bain-marie and cover the bain-marie with aluminium foil. Cook the parfait until the temperature in the centre reaches 64C.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
For the mandarin jelly:
45g leaf gelatine
500g mandarin purée
0.4g mandarin oil
1.5g paprika extract
Place the gelatine in cold water to soften. Gently heat the mandarin purée and glucose in a pan to combine. Add the softened gelatine and stir well until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the mandarin oil and paprika extract and stir well.
Pass the mix through a fine sieve and reserve in the fridge until required.
To make the fruits:
Using a spoon, fill dome moulds with parfait, ensuring there is enough pressure to create a completely smooth surface. Level off the tops so that they are flat, and cover with clingfilm. Gently press the clingfilm directly onto the surface of the parfait. Place in the freezer until completely frozen.
Gently de-mould the parfait domes. Place on a board with the flat sides facing upwards. Very briefly run the flame of a blow torch over the flat side, being careful only to just melt the surface of the parfait. Join two halves together and compress using a square of clingfilm. Wrap well in clingfilm and place back in the freezer until required.
Gently push a wooden cocktail stick into the middle of the rounded surface and re-wrap until all the parfaits are complete.
Gently melt the mandarin jelly in a saucepan and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the clingfilm and dip each ball of parfait into the jelly and stand the sticks, covered in clingfilm, into a piece of Oasis (the green material you get in florist shops to help the flowers stand up). Place in the fridge for a minute, then repeat the dipping process.
Dip three times, then gently remove the cocktail stick and place the balls onto a tray covered in clingfilm. Place a lid over the tray and leave in the fridge to defrost for at least six hours.
Once defrosted, gently push the top of the ball using your thumb to create the shape of a mandarin. Place a stalk and leaf in the top centre of the indent to complete the fruit.
2. Heston Blumenthal Meat Fruit Recipe UPDATED!
This is the easiest set of instructions you’ll ever find to make Meat Fruit.
Makes ~7 Meat Fruits.
Food Thermometer (measure temperature)
Food Scale (measure mass)
Hand Blender (any blender really)
Water Bath / Bain-marie (easily improvised in oven)
6cm diameter half-dome silicone mould (for spheres)
Fridge and Freezer
Loaf Pan (Terrine)
Chicken Liver Parfait Recipe (UPDATED!)
2 red onions, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon garlic, minced
50mL Fortified Wine (Tawny OR Sherry OR Apera OR Boronia Marsala All’Uovo)
20g table salt
400g chicken livers, chopped
300g butter, melted
Fry red onions, garlic and a teaspoon of butter in a saucepan, stir no burning. When brown, add fortified wine and simmer for ~5 minutes. Remove contents into a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 100'C. Fill a water bath—an oven tray with water in it — and place in the oven.
Sprinkle the table salt over the chopped livers and fry with a teaspoon of butter in the same saucepan, stir no burning. Liver is ready when slightly brown. Crack in the eggs and add remaining butter and onion garlic mix into the pan. Simmer while stirring mixture for ~5 minutes, remove from heat.
Hand Blender OR Blender
Blitz all ingredients with hand blender or blender until smooth. Pass mixture through sieve. This mixture is now a parfait.
Loaf Pan OR Terrine
Pour into loaf pan and place in water bath, then cover water bath with aluminium foil. Cook parfait until temperature in the centre reaches ~65'C.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Mandarin Jelly Recipe (UPDATED!)
20g leaf gelatine (1 packet)
500g mandarin juice OR orange juice, without pulp
2–3 drops of orange food colouring
Place all gelatine in cold water to soften, 5–10 minutes. Gently heat mandarin juice and glucose in saucepan to combine. Add softened gelatine, stir well until dissolved. Remove from heat and add mandarin oil, stir well. Add food colouring until you’re happy with orange colour.
Allow to cool in fridge until required.
To Make Meat Fruits:
6cm diameter half-dome silicone mould
Fill half-dome moulds with parfait, level off tops so they’re flat, cover with cling wrap. Put in freezer until completely frozen.
Gently pop out parfait half-domes. Place on board with flat sides facing up. Join two halves together and compress using a square of cling wrap. Wrap well and place back in the freezer until required.
Gently push a wooden skewer into the middle of the rounded surface and re-wrap until all parfait balls are complete.
Gently melt mandarin jelly in saucepan and cool to room temperature. Remove cling wrap and dip each ball of parfait into the jelly and stand the skewers up. Improvised stand ideas:
Water bottles (What I used).
Place in the fridge for a minute, then repeat the dipping process.
Gently remove the skewers and place the balls onto individual cling wrap. Wrap and keep in freezer, or leave in the fridge to defrost.
Once defrosted, they are ready to serve. Gently push the top of the ball using your thumb to slightly flatten the sphere. Place a stalk and leaf where the skewer hole was to complete the mandarin Meat Fruit.
3. Footnotes — Ingredients, Specialist Equipment, Technique, Questions
Shallot & Red Onion
Shallot tastes onion-y and garlic-y. It’s delicious. Shallot is hard to find, and at most grocery stores is ~$12/kg. Red onion is common and ~$2/kg.
Minced garlic from a jar is just like the garlic you peel and chop. I added more garlic to cover for the shallot. $1.25 for 250g jar.
Thyme & Aromatic Herbs
Sadly, most aromatics are lost on most people. Especially in a long cooking process. Had you used oregano, rosemary, basil, dill, marjoram or tarragon, nobody would even notice the difference. ~$3 a small bunch.
Booze — Dry Madeira, Ruby Port, White Port, Brandy & Tawny Port
The original recipe calls for half a litre of booze — to be reduced to a tablespoon. Such a waste for little reward. Simply burn off the alcohol from a cheap tawny, and you have the same great flavours with 100% less pretentiousness. $5 for De Bortoli Sacred Hill Reserve Tawny.
Cheap, ~$4/kg. Might try duck liver next time, it’s just a few bucks more.
The original recipe uses far too much gelatine, asking for 2 packets. Even I used too much - you could easily use just half of 1 packet. $5 for 20g packet.
Mandarin Puree & Mandarin / Orange Juice
Juice ~5 mandarins for required liquid, or simply swap out for orange juice. Don’t puree whole fruit because the peel and pith (white sponge bit) can be quite bitter. ~$4 per kg.
I couldn’t find it online, and it might as well not exist. Most cake and confectionery suppliers stock only Orange Oil, which I used instead. You really don’t need it at all — it tastes better as a juice! If keen for that citrus oil flavour, add in some finely chopped mandarin peel.
Impossible to find a stockist of Paprika Extract but the thing is it’s used for colouring, not flavour. It’s made from capsicums. Simply use food colouring instead. The more red, the deeper the orange.
Thickener, sweetener, and retains moisture. Stocked in most supermarkets in the cake section. $4.65 for 500g jar.
2. Specialist Equipment
Makes cooking reliable and takes out the guess work. Indispensable.
Digital Scale ~$10
Same as above.
Hand Blender ~$50
Makes short work of the chopped liver and the parfait puree.
6cm half-dome silicone mould ~$10
For consistent parfait spheres.
You can easily improvise a $100 sous vide machine using an esky, a kettle and a thermometer.
It’s just a pot on a stove that stirs for you.
- Frozen parfait balls melt surprisingly fast, so handle quickly and delicately.
- Frozen parfait is soft — it’s possible to not use the silicone mould and still make nice balls of parfait using just some cling wrap.
- There’s quick timing between the liquid jelly being liquid, dipping the parfait balls and leaving it to set. It’s a temperature thing.
- You will make a mess if you don’t clean up as you go.
- You don’t need a Fine Sieve — just a regular sieve will do for super smooth parfait.
So, what does it taste like?
It’s lovely! The chicken liver pate is very smooth and hearty. The jelly is nice, but doesn’t spread as well.
I used French bread because sourdough sucks.
Why make meat fruit?
It’s the signature dish at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal @ Crown Casino, Southbank, Melbourne Victoria Australia. As of 2017, it’s ~$38 per serve. Let’s see what the fuss is about!
Is it worth the hype?
The downside to getting what you want is getting what you once wanted. I prefer the hype.