CHRISTMAS CANAPE: Chicken Liver Parfait on Pumpernickel Toast

CHRISTMAS CANAPE: Chicken Liver Parfait on Pumpernickel Toast

Perfect as a starter or as a Christmas party canape, this rich chicken liver parfait recipe is easy, delicious and inexpensive, making it the ideal leftovers for two dish.

As Felicity Cloake bemoans in her 2012 article for The Guardian, pate seems rather sadly to have “dropped off restaurant menus” in recent(ish) times. All the more reason I say, to make your own and serve it to all your Christmas party guests who more than likely miss this bygone food too.

Having grown up with many accomplished cooks in the family, and then working for 15 years in the hospitality industry, I have eaten more than a few pieces of pate-slathered toast before. One evening in particular comes to mind, way back in 2006, at a restaurant in London where my husband briefly worked. A junior chef ruined a huge batch of foie gras (it didn’t set!).

Staff were called in on their nights off and housemates, partners, drinkers in the bar were all roped in to and try to eat the enormous bucketful of pate. Despite the best efforts of close to 30 of us, however, the unsalvageable parfait won out – at least we had fun trying!

This slightly less decadent recipe serves 10 as a starter/entree and takes 80 minutes to prepare (not including CRUCIAL setting time!).


600g cleaned chicken livers
3 eggs
600g unsalted butter
300ml cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
90ml brandy/cognac
1 small shallot
1 sprig thyme



Pre-heat your oven to 175C.

Finely dice the shallot and thyme, and together with the cognac, boil in a small saucepan over a high heat. Once it has reduced by a third set aside to cool.

In a food processor place the cleaned, room temperature chicken livers – it’s really important to have all your ingredients at blood temperature for this recipe, you can do this by setting them in a sinkful of warm water – and blitz to a smooth puree with the cooled cognac and shallot mixture. Next, push the puree through a fine sieve into a large mixing bowl to ensure any lingering sinew is removed.

Next, add the room temp. eggs one at a time, beating well beofre whisking in the melted butter, followed by the cream, and finally the salt and white pepper.

Pour into 2 shallow cake tins or 3 separate 500ml ramekins and sit them in a deep roasting tin. Fill the roasting tin with hot tap water until it reaches two thirds of the way up the ramekins or cake tins. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes until the core temperature of the parfait reaches 72 degrees Celsius.

Carefully lift the parfait dishes from the water bath and set aside to cool. Once they have cooled completely cover and transfer to the fridge. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Best eaten within 7 days.

Serve on thin slices of pumpernickel toast with a sprinkling of salt flakes and thin cornichon strips. chicken liver parfait

chicken liver parfait


A layer of melted butter on top to seal the pate


Thin slices of toast or thick hunks of buttered bread

Thin cucumber slicesĀ  chicken liver parfait


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