Happy new year, friends! A little past midnight I had one of the most fabulous dishes I have ever put together: homemade foie gras with pear, gingerbread, hazelnut and Sauternes. Foie gras, pear gel, homemade gingerbread crumble, hazelnut sponge and Sauternes jelly. Sounds more complicated than it actually is, I promise!
When I tell them what I plan on cooking, people often ask me why I like to overcomplicate my life and why I don’t buy the ready-made products or go to the restaurant. All they usually receive in return are my angry looks and a bite of whatever seemingly overcomplicated dish I take on.
If you give me a lobe of foie gras, no, I will not throw it in a pan and cook it for a minute and serve it with some mash. I’ll make the whole darn foie gras terrine, torchon, whatever it may be. I’ll prepare it for three days, let it rest and provide it with love and cuddles if need be.
Torchon de foie gras, simple but complicated
Making foie gras au torchon takes commitment. And patience. And care. It’s both very simple and complicated, but whatever you do, just stay calm. I’ve totally improvised the elegant bain marie the decadent liver needs to get cooked in, and it was still all fine at the end. Actually, it was the best darn thing I’ve ever put on a plate myself.
Because I think you’re most probably less crazy than me, and because Thomas Keller already has the perfect recipe for foie gras au torchon, I will make your life easier and assume you’ve already got the beautiful pâté, whether you bought it or made it yourself. If you’re feeling adventurous, then I recommend this recipe.
Ok, I should stop now, you’ll have enough to read in the recipe!
Foie gras au torchon, pear gel, gingerbread crumble, hazelnut sponge and Sauternes jelly. Sounds more complicated than it actually is, I promise!
To make the gingerbread crumble, heat your oven at 180ºC. Add all ingredients to a small food processor and blend well. Spread on parchment paper onto a tray, then bake until hard (about 20 minutes). When done, break it with your hands, then add it to a food processor and blend until you obtain the gingerbread crumbs. Make sure there are no big bits left.
For the Sauternes jelly, heat the Sauternes wine in a small pot. Once it starts simmering, cool it down a bit, then add the agar agar and mix well. Place in a rectangular box and set in the fridge for a couple of hours, then cut into cubes when serving.
For the pear gel, chop the pears finely and add them to a pot with a bit of water (2-3 tablespoons). Bring to simmer, then, when the pears become soft, crush them with your spoon. Boil for about 10-15 minutes, then strain through a sieve and discard the hard bits. Mix in the agar agar and set in the fridge. Before serving, use a hand blender to turn it into a gel. When plating, you can use a piping bag.
For the hazelnut sponge, mix all ingredients in a food processor. Add to a whipping siphon, then load it with 3 N2O capsules. Siphon the sponge into a plastic container, then microwave it at full power for 1.5 minutes.
If you wish to simplify the recipe even more, you can use hard gingerbread and blend it in a food processor. However, the homemade gingerbread in this recipe is less sweet and works well with plenty of other dishes, from fish to meat.
I highly recommend making your own foie gras – it’s a lot cheaper than buying the ready made terrine and you’ll see that despite the fact that you need to plan the recipe way in advance, it’s not all that difficult to make. I used this recipe when I made mine.