Choux pastry with chicken livers, cream & lemon

Choux pastry with chicken livers, cream & lemon


Helen Cathcart

This ancient traditional Tuscan recipe comes from the Middle Ages when gizzards, hearts and cock’s combs were used up in this way. Catherine de’ Medici was said to have loved this dish so much that she made herself ill eating too much of it. Normally it is not served in a choux bun, but we love this version, which was shown to us years ago by a Florentine chef visiting one of our restaurants. If you don’t want to make the choux pastry, serve the cibreo with hot toast instead.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Choux buns, choux pastry
100g salted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
300g chicken livers
plain flour, for dusting
100ml brandy or vin santo
250ml Poached chicken & chicken stock
or water
small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons double cream or whipping cream


  1. Make the pastry according to the instructions, but instead of making small mounds of the mixture on the baking tray, pipe it into 6 evenly-sized mounds spaced 6 cm apart and bake at 200°C for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 170°C for a further 15–17 minutes or until golden brown and firm inside. Remove from the oven and pierce a hole in the side of each bun. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  2. Heat half the butter and half the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper, and sweat over a low heat for 10–15 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken livers by removing the tough connective tissue and cutting them into roughly 1 cm- wide strips. Dust the livers with flour and shake off the excess. Heat the remaining butter and oil in the pan containing the onion and garlic, season and fry until the chicken livers are browned all over. Pour in the brandy or Vin Santo and flambé to burn off the alcohol. If you prefer not to flambé, simply let the brandy bubble until the strong smell of alcohol disappears.
  3. Add the stock or water and parsley and stir through, then cook over a medium heat for roughly 20 minutes or until the livers are cooked through and not pink inside.
  4. Mix the lemon juice, egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Remove the pan from the heat and push the livers to one side of the pan so that the juices pool in one area. Pour the egg mixture into the juices and stir through quickly before mixing the sauce with the livers. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  5. Warm the choux buns. Split them open and lay one half of the bun down, ladle on some chicken livers and sauce, and top with the other half of the bun. Serve straight away.
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