How to prepare French duck liver mousse by Julia Child?


Do you also associate hot days with ripe tomatoes and pâté spread over some warm bread? 🙂

Yum yum… I can already see it… and on top of it, over tomato, just a pinch of salt…

10 minutes COOKING


  • 400 gr duck liver or meat substitute or a little bit of everything
  • 1 smaller onion (or 2 scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon butter + 110 gr melted butter additionally for decoration
  • 30 ml kognac
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 500 ml duck or chicken soup
  • 60 gr dry white wine or vermouth
  • 2 leaves of gelatine
  • 2 leaves of gelatine
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 200 gr chilled sweet cream
  • 3-4 drops of truffle flavored olive oil


  1. If you have either duck liver, or a suitable meat, you need to remove all of the unwanted fibers or capillary.
  2. Saute chopped onion at a medium heat for about 2 minutes. Onion should not turn brown while sauteed (sorted or stewed).
  3. While the onion is sauteed, melt gelatin in white wine or vermouth in a separate dish.
  4. Add chicken soup and gelatin into the sauteed onion and stew it together for 1 more minute.
  5. Put it all together in a blender.
  6. Add some more butter into the same pan and stew the duck liver (or any substitute) for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add duck liver into the blender and mix it until it turns into paste.
  8. Add cognac into the mixture (or wine in case you don't have cognac). Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and stir it all well.
  9. Pour it all into jars and put it into the fridge to cool off.
  10. It is optional if you want to get the sweet cream out of the fridge and hand whisk it to get twice its amount.
  11. Thus whisked sweet cream combine with chilled pate or mousse, add a couple of drops or truffle flavored olive oil and put it back into the fridge for additional cooling until you serve it.
  12. Serve it with crisp backed baguette and tomato.

My mouth is watering 🙂

Do you buy the paste in the supermarket?

I have not in such a long time. When I feel like eating some, I prepare my own pate

For example, this mousse recipe was prepared after a French recipe by a fantastic cook, Julie Child 🙂 It is a real delicacy and as she says, if you serve it in some decorative jars, which are easy to find, it can be served as an appetizer along with a cocktail.

Duck pate

The main ingredient of this pate is duck liver. It is really hard to get, mostly because restaurants buy it. In case you don’t actually have duck liver, you can also use the chicken or goose one, or chicken or goose meat… or you can even prepare it with fish.

Once you have the meat part… another very important ingredient is onion. It is best to use  onion which does not have such a strong flavor

Now you are more or less ready to begin…

What does Julia Child advise?

I stewed onion in a pan with some butter. Stew it at a medium temperature only for a short while…it shouldn’t turn brown. That is approximately 2 minutes of stewing.

Afterwards, add some chicken broth (you can also use a chicken soup cube stirred in hot water) and gelatin previously dissolved in white wine (you can also use vermouth).

Stir it all a couple of times. Add chopped duck liver (or any other kind of meat or liver) and saute it for a minute or two.

The final step was to pour it all into the blender and mix it until it turned into paste. Add some cognac (or wine as a substitute), salt, pepper, and some nutmeg.

Blend it all well and leave in the fridge to cool off.

It came as a surprise to me that Julia suggested using sweet cream in this recipe. I must admit I was very skeptical, so I decided to try it out on a small amount of duck pate. If it was any other recipe but Julia’s, I definitely would not try this.

What is the aim of using sweet cream?

I kept it in the fridge until it completely chilled. Then, I took the whisker (not a mixer) and mixed in the sweet cream in order to get twice the amount of the original. Thus hand stirred sweet cream I mixed into the chilled pate.

That was the greatest wisdom in the preparation of this duck pate with sweet cream.

If you are lucky enough to have some truffles or at least some olive oil with truffle aroma, add a couple of drops of it into the duck pate 🙂 Or you can spread it over the jar edges. Trust mi on this, it is awesome 🙂

Now it is time for the cooling part again… in the jar, until it is served 🙂

What about decoration?

The first and the simplest option is to serve it all in a decorative jar.

The second option of to make jelly (aspic) out of chicken broth and cover the molds from which you would be serving the duck pate. You should first put the jelly into the fridge until it is firm (not completely, something similar to when you prepare pralines) and then cover the molds with it. Use that same mold (it is best to be a metal one) to pour chilled mousse or duck paste and put it back into the fridge for additional cooling .

How to get it out of the mold when serving? Simply dip the mold into the hot water for a couple of seconds and turn the plate upside down, which will make the paste get out.

It tastes creamy and mild… not too savoury.

The third option is to add refined butter to the paste. How did I ‘refine’ it? Melt the butter in a small cooker at low temperature. It is very important to do it gradually so that the butter does not change its color. As soon as the butter melts, I took some gauze and filtrated the butter through it. Make sure you do not get burnt! You will notice that the ‘refined butter’ is a bit more yellow in color than the original one. Thus I tried to remove the milk proteins and water.

I used that ‘refined butter’ to pour it over my duck pate and leave it to chill.

It is now your turn to decide if this was the right choice.


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