TERRINE DE FOIES DE VOLAILLE AUX FIGUES
Beyond the bold gaminess of their flavors, what I
love about meat terrines is that the recipes were
often created to use up lesser cuts of meat, making
them gloriously thrifty dishes, and a haven for
underappreciated bits and pieces.
It is rare for city cooks to prepare meat terrines
at home - they are so readily available from
charcuteries, why would one bother - and many of
them call for puzzling animal ingredients (calves'
hooves, pork back fat, or even caul, the lacy
membrane taken from the abdomen of a cow or sheep),
the kind you have to request from your butcher
tentatively, hoping he at least will know what
you're talking about.
But this smooth terrine is quite simple to shop for:
it uses whole chicken livers (they can be purchased
fresh from the butcher's if you have access to one,
or at the grocery store short of that), whose
unabashedly earthy character is softened by port and
plump morsels of dried figs. Served with thickly
sliced toasts of crusty bread, it is a rustic-chic
dish that will do well as a starter, or as part of a
buffet. It is best made a day ahead, so the texture
will set and the flavors will have time to develop.
1 pound fresh chicken livers
1/2 cup port wine
8 dried black mission figs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 small shallots
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon, freshly ground black pepper
Serves 12 to 16 as a starter or buffet item (the
recipe can be halved) Chilling time: 2 hours for the
marinade, 6 hours for the finished terrine.
1. Rinse the livers under cold water, drain, and
remove the white strands. Pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the livers and port in a small salad bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Set a fine-mesh
sieve over a second bowl and pour the livers and
marinade into the sieve, reserving the marinade.
2. Wash the first bowl you used. Put the figs in the
bowl, cover with hot water, and let stand as you go
on with the recipe.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large
skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and
garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until softened and
fragrant. Add the livers, thyme, bay leaves, salt,
and pepper, and cook for 4 minutes, flipping the
livers halfway through, until the livers are browned
on the outside, but still pink inside. Add the
reserved marinade, turn the heat up to medium-high,
and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until most of the
liquids have evaporated and the livers are browned
all over but still tender. Remove from heat, discard
the bay leaves, and let cool for 5 minutes.
4. Transfer the liver mixture to a food processor
and process until pureed. Add the remaining butter
and pulse until smooth. Drain the figs, pat dry with
paper towels, cut in 1/4-inch pieces, and fold into
the liver mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Pack into two 1-cup glass jars, making sure there
are no pockets of air. Place a small piece of
plastic wrap directly on the surface of the terrine,
close the jars tightly, and refrigerate for at least
6 hours, and preferably overnight.
Bring to just under room temperature and serve. The
terrine will keep for up to 4 days, chilled, its
surface covered with plastic wrap.
Variations---The terrine can be made with other
dried fruits, especially prunes and apricots. You
can include walnuts or hazelnuts in addition to, or
instead of, fruit. For a chunkier texture, reserve a
few of the cooked livers before you puree the
mixture: chop them roughly, and fold them in as you
add the fruits or nuts.
TARTE CHOCOLAT CARAMEL
Anyone who's serious about pastry shops needs a
reliable benchmark by which to judge, grade, and
classify them. For some it might be the coffee
eclair (the dough should be crisp but giving, the
filling should have an assertive coffee flavor and
not taste eggy, and the glaze should be sweet and
thick but neither cloying nor sticky on the roof of
your mouth) or perhaps the mille-feuille (the puff
pastry should dissolve into light flakes and not
feel dry or brittle, the vanilla cream should have
the distinctive flavor of real beans, and the ratio
of cream to pastry should be roughly two thirds, so
you will make a mess eating it - that can't be
helped - but won't have all the cream squish out
onto your lap).
For me, the ultimate benchmark is the chocolate
tart. Be it a single-serving tartlet or a slice of a
larger tart, I am attentive to the quality of the
ganache, which should be intensely flavored but not
too thick, too soft, or too gelled, and the delicate
crust, which should be sandy, and just sweet enough
to tease the bitterness of the chocolate.
But for all the chocolate tarts and tartlets that I
taste here and there I can never get enough, and
this handsome dessert remains one of my favorites to
make at home. I have experimented with many a
variation, but this one, hiding a layer of salted
caramel beneath the chocolate blanket, is
undisputedly the most acclaimed. As you might
imagine it is an indulgent affair, and a small slice
is enough to fill you with a sense of deep,
Pate Sablee recipe is on page 182 in the book (or)
use your favorite recipe---
For the Caramel Filling
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon good-quality honey
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, plus a pat for
greasing the pan.
Serves 12 to 16 Chilling time: 30 Minutes for the
dough, 40 minutes for the caramel, 1 hour for the
1. Grease a 10-inch tart pan with butter. Prepare
the Pate Sablee and line the pan as instructed. Wrap
tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes,
or up to a day.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 to 25
minutes, until golden, keeping an eye on it.
Transfer to a rack to cool.
3. Prepare the caramel filling: make sure you have
all the ingredients measured out before you start.
Combine the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a
small heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt the sugar
slowly over medium-low heat. Swish the pan around
from time to time to ensure even melting, but don't
stir. As soon as bubbles form on the surface (avoid
overcooking the caramel, which would result in a
bitter taste afterward), add the honey and stir to
combine. Add the salt and cream and stir until
blended. Remove from heat, add the butter, and stir
to combine. Pour the caramel into the tart shell and
tilt the pan slowly in a circular motion to coat the
bottom of the shell evenly. Let set in the fridge
for 40 minutes.
4. Prepare the ganache filling: put the chocolate in
a medium mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed
saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour half of the
cream on the chocolate (cover the saucepan to keep
the remaining cream warm), let stand for 20 seconds,
and stir gently in the center with a whisk,
gradually blending the cream with the chocolate
until smooth. Add half of the remaining cream, and
stir again until combined. Repeat with the remaining
cream. Remove the tart pan from the fridge, pour the
chocolate filling into the shell, and level the
surface with a spatula. Return to the fridge to set
for an hour.
5.Remove the tart from the fridge 15 minutes before
serving. Cut in small slices - it is quite rich -
and serve on its own, or with fresh berries. The
leftovers will keep for 2 days, tightly wrapped and
Variations---For the classic chocolate tart, omit
the caramel layer. Or, instead of caramel, line the
tart shell with fruit or preserves before you pour
in the ganache, or sprinkle it with cacao nibs,
toasted nuts, or crushed pralines. You can add
liqueur, coffee, or spices (cardamom or ground
ginger) to the ganache, or infuse the cream with tea
(Earl Grey and Genmaicha in particular), citrus
zest, or herbs (rosemary, bergamot, basil, lavender)
before you use it for the ganache.
WINE---BROADBENT NV RAINWATER MADEIRA (Portugal,
Madeira, fortified white) This sweet dessert wine
has a slight citrusy tartness, a great layering of
flavors (fig, candied orange peel, burnt sugar, and
butterscotch-caramel), and a deliciously nutty