This recipe has again been adapted from one used by Nico Ladinis.
It's not difficult, as long as the directions are clearly followed. It is very rich, but extremely good for special occasions.
It is also very easy to serve, as all the hard work goes before.
Equipment: A heavy 'Le Creuset' terrine, or something similar; plus a piece of wood or heavy card that exactly fits inside the top. A deep, non-metallic, tray or rectangular dish.
For 14 people plus:
- 90ml/4 fl oz White Port or very dry Sherry (such as Tio Pepe)
- 90ml/4 fl oz Armagnac or Cognac
- 30ml/1 fl oz Madeira (optional)
- 120ml/5 fl oz sweet White Wine (such as Sauternes or Barsac
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) Fine Sea Salt
- Caster Sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) freshly-ground Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Quatre Epices (a mixture of ground allspice, cinnamon, cloves and pepper) - generally available already-mixed from good supermarkets
- 2 fresh duck foie gras - weighing about 350g/12oz each
- Clarified Butter
1. Mix together the White Port, Madeira and wine and stir in 2 tablespoons (30ml) of Salt, the pepper and the quatre épices. Stir well to dissolve the ingredients. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
2. Put this mixture through a very fine sieve, or tea strainer - to remove the black flecks, while still retaining the flavours.
3. Prepare the livers, by scraping off the fine membrane which covers them, then remove all the veins and sinews that run down the centre of each lobe. While you have to completely open-up the lobes, try to keep them as neat and intact in shape as possible. This job is made easier, if the livers have been previously been 'firmed-up' for a short time n the deep freeze.
4. Arrange the cleaned livers flat in a deep non-metallic dish, and pour over the sieved wine mixture - turning the livers over in it. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning the livers over occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, prepare a bain-marie (water bath) large enough to take your terrine, and fill it with 5cm/2in of boiling water; and heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
6. Brush the inside of the terrine all over with clarified butter, then quickly arrange the pieces of liver and press down with the back of a spoon to flatten them out. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar, and a little sea salt as you build up the layers. Pour over the marinade, and cover with tin foil.
7. Put the terrine in the bain-marie, and cook in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven, and lift the terrine out of the bain-marie.
9. Place the terrine on a heatproof tray, and let it cool for 40 minutes.
10. Loosely-cover the terrine with cling film, and place your piece of wood over the top as a weight to compress the mixture; a few extra tins will also held achieve this. Quite a lot of fat might escape over the rim, but this can be collected in the tray, and saved for use in making a chicken liver paté or something similar.
11. When the terrine is completely cold, you can seal the top with more clarified butter (if you wish to keep the terrine for an extended period of time). Otherwise the flavour will develop if it's kept in the fridge for a couple of days.
Serve, carefully sliced, with brioche toast.