Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add half of the scrapped beans to a mixing bowl with the liquor. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground mace, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and orange zest, and whisk together. Put the foie gras into the marinade and cover with plastic wrap. Slosh the marinade around a little and keep refrigerated. Add the remaining vanilla bean seeds in a mixing bowl, and add the eggs and half and half. Add the remaining mace and cinnamon and beat the mixture together. Soak the brioche slices in the egg mixture and allow them to absorb the flavor. Soaking time will depend on the freshness of the brioche; the softer it is, the shorter the soaking (sometimes 1 minute is sufficient). Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to complete the dish. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the foie gras from the marinade and cut the slices about 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thick. Reserve on a chilled plate and discard almost all of the marinade. Remove the brioche from the egg wash and lay the slices on a plate. Heat the clarified butter in a nonstick skillet, add the bread, and cook over medium heat until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Reheat the caramel sauce and place 2 tablespoons on each of 4 warm serving plates. Heat a nonstick skillet or pan and when hot, sear the foie gras slices over high heat for 15 seconds on each side until seared and very dark. Place the foie gras on the brioche in layers: a slice of brioche on the bottom, a slice of foie gras, then brioche, another layer of foie gras, and topped with brioche. Serve with mixed tropical fruits and orange segments, if desired.
Recipe from Norman's New World Cuisine by Norman Van Aken, published by Random House
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