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Festive Chicken Liver Tart

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Christmas is just days away and soon my family and friends will gather around the festively decorated, long dining table.

On occasions like this I like to treat my family and friends with beautiful, tasty food that is just a little bit special. This gorgeous tart is a lovely starter and has replaced the usual Foie Gras as I am put off by the methods applied in its production.

Chicken livers are a regular feature on my menu so I constantly look for different ways to prepare and serve them. This is a particularly delicious tart and one that my family and friends enjoy too.

Liver has an affinity with sweetness; in this recipe it is provided by sultanas heated in brandy. This can be omitted if you wish, but then I suggest you serve a little sweet chutney on the side.

Ingredients for the pastry

1 egg plus some extra beaten egg to brush the pastry

150 g unsalted butter, softened

250 g plain flour

5 ml salt

15 ml milk

Ingredients for the filling

1 tablespoon sultanas

15 ml Armagnac

15 ml water

150 g chicken livers, washed and trimmed

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove of garlic, a large one, crushed

1 egg

250 ml double cream

15 ml chopped basil leaves

Freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Start by making the pastry. Place the eggs and butter in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the flour and salt and mix to incorporate. Add the milk and knead 2 or 3 times to amalgamate all the ingredients. Leave the pastry to rest for 1 hour before using.

Roll out pastry and line a 25cm non-stick tart tin with detachable base. Chill the pastry for 15 minutes.

Put the sultanas, Armagnac and water in a pan, bring to the boil the turn off the heat and leave to cool and to allow the sultanas to swell and absorb the Armagnac flavour.

Place the livers, shallot and garlic in a blender and process to a puree. Add the egg, cream, basil and grated nutmeg, add any remaining liquid from the sultanas, add salt and pepper and process to combine.

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Prick the tart base with a fork then brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Place the pastry in the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 160C

Sprinkle the sultanas over the base of the pastry case, pour in the chicken liver filling and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to settle for a few minutes before cutting.

Serve with baby salad leaves that have been lightly tossed in a vinaigrette dressing.

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