Cherry Meat Fruit
Inspired by history, Heston’s masterpiece of culinary illusion (it looks like fruit but is in fact meat) has become a modern classic. With the careful temperature control needed to pull off such a spectacular recipe, it really showcases the accuracy and versatility of the 5-in-1 Digital Cooking Thermometer.
For the alcohol reduction
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
15g thyme sprigs, tied together with string
150g ruby port
150g white port
For the parfait
400g chicken livers (stringy veins removed)
4 large whole eggs
400g unsalted butter, diced
reserved alcohol reduction
125g whipping cream
20 hazelnuts, halved
For the cherry jelly
1kg cherry puree
45g bronze leaf gelatine
20g lemon juice
stalks of 20 cherries, to garnish
5-10 slices toasted sourdough
For the alcohol reduction, place all the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup. Remove and discard the bundle of thyme. Cover and set aside until needed.
To make the parfait, fill a pan with cold water and heat to approximately 50°C. Combine the livers and salt in a sealable sandwich bag. Crack the eggs into a second sandwich bag and the butter in a third. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place the bags into the water, ensuring no water fills the bags. Allow the bags to warm for 10 minutes so that all the ingredients are the same temperature before mixing.
Preheat the oven to 110°C. Remove the bags from the water and place the livers and eggs into a tall container and add the alcohol reduction. Blitz until smooth using a hand blender. Slowly add the melted butter to, blitzing continuously. Once the butter has been fully incorporated, pass the mixture through a fine sieve lined with a double layer of muslin. Squeeze out as much of the mixture as possible. Stir in the whipping cream.
Pour the mixture into a terrine and place the terrine in a deep roasting tray. Pour boiling hot water into the tray until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the side of the terrine. Cover the terrine and roasting tray with foil and place in the oven. Use a thermometer probe to check the centre of the parfait, removing the tray from the oven once the temperature reaches 62°C. Carefully take the terrine out of the water and leave to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature before chilling in the fridge overnight. Spoon the parfait into a piping bag and fill 3cm diameter half sphere silicone moulds. Place a halved hazelnut into each, then use an offset spatula to scrape the surface, ensuring the top is flat. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours, or until frozen solid.
Carefully remove the spheres from the moulds and, using a blow torch, lightly melt the flat side. Join 2 halves of the spheres to form 1 full sphere. Insert a toothpick in the top and fill in any gaps in the balls with leftover parfait. Place in the freezer.
For the cherry jelly, pass the puree through fine mesh sieve and reserve 500g. Place in a pan and gently heat to 50°C. Bloom the gelatine by placing in a shallow container and pouring cold water over it, soaking for 5 minutes. Ensure the sheets are not sticking together. Squeeze excess water from the softened gelatine and add to the warm cherry juice along with the lemon juice, stirring well until fully dissolved.
Allow the cherry jelly to cool to 27°C and, holding the toothpick, dip each of the frozen balls of parfait into the jelly. Gently flick off any excess jelly and turn upside down placing in a block of butter, Styrofoam or card to hold in place, allow to set in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Gently remove the toothpicks from the dipped parfait balls and place onto a tray lined tray with kitchen paper covered with pierced cling film. Cover and leave in the fridge to defrost for at least 6 hours.
Once defrosted, using the tip of your finger, gently push the top of the parfait where the little hole is to create a cherry shape. Garnish with the stalks of fresh cherries to complete the illusion.
Serve with toasted sourdough.