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Duck Liver Parfait

  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x


Learn how to make a homemade duck liver parfait, worthy of being served at the best restaurants in France.



  • 1kg (2lbs) duck livers, washed
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) butter
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 thyme sprigs, washed
  • 125ml (½ cup) port
  • 125ml (½ cup) brandy
  • 8 eggs
  • 800g (2¾lbs) butter, melted and war


  1. Two days before serving cut away and discard any large sinews from the duck livers.
  2. Soak the livers in milk, 500ml (2 cups) of water and 10ml (2 tsp) salt, overnight. This will help to reduce any bitterness.
  3. The day before serving, start making the parfait. Rinse the livers, pat dry and set aside.
  4. Gently fry the shallots and garlic in oil and butter until softened. 
  5. Add the thyme then pour in the port and brandy.
  6. Bring the contents to a boil until the liquid has been reduced by a third. 
  7. Lower the temperature to a minimum setting and add the livers, stirring them until they have browned, which should take around 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8. Preheat the oven to 130°C/27°0F/gas mark ½.
  9. Remove the thyme sprigs and place the rest of the contents in a blender. Process until smooth.
  10. While the processor is running, add one cracked egg into the mix every 30 seconds. This should take around 4 minutes and the mixture should be silky smooth. 
  11. Pour the melted butter very slowly while the motor is running. 
  12. Season to taste.
  13. Sieve the mixture to ensure the parfait is perfectly smooth.
  14. You can either use 24 ramekins or 2 large terrine tins. Whatever you decide, pour the parfait into the dishes and place them in deep baking trays. Cover all of them with greaseproof paper.
  15. Fill the baking trays with water up to two-thirds of the height of the dishes.
  16. Place the trays in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. You need a thermometer to test whether the parfait has reached an internal temperature of 65°C/150°F. If not, cook for a few minutes longer and keep checking until the desired temperature has been reached.
  17. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  18. You now have a choice to freeze it for later use, or you can place it in the fridge overnight to firm up. 
  19. If you choose the latter, you can remove the greaseproof paper and spread softened butter on top of each dish to help retain its moisture and prevents oxidation. 
  20. Serve the next day with amaretto cherries or persimmon chutney.


  • If you used ramekins, you simply serve them as is so that guests can help themselves to the individual portions. 
  • If you used a terrine tin, you’ll need to briefly dunk the parfait in hot water,  but do not submerge it! This will let the sides loosen up, so that you can flip the terrine onto a serving platter, turning it into a fantastic centrepiece with all the trimmings as a starter.
  • Category: Starter
  • Method: Bain Marie
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: duck liver parfait, liver parfait recipe, duck liver recipe, Christmas starter, duck liver appetizer