Pork Pâtè En Croûte

The term en croûte (in a crust) refers to an ingredient encased in pastry. This is the most difficult and most luxurious way to use forcemeat, the apotheosis of the charcutier’s craft. The trick is in browning the dough and cooking it all the way through without over- or undercooking the forcemeat inside (this dough originated from work by Dan Hugelier and Lyde Buchtenkirch for the Culinary Olympics team; to enhance the browning, they introduced milk powder). When you succeed, it’s a true victory. And, involved though it is, none of the steps are difficult in and of themselves (you’re baking meat loaf in a piecrust).

This terrine uses the pork terrine, but you can use any farce and inlay you wish. You will need a pâté en croûte mold—12 by 3 by 3 inches/30 by 7.5 by 7.5 centimeters—with a removable bottom.

  • Pâté Dough (recipe follows)
  • 8 paper-thin slices smoked ham (about 4 inches/10 centimeters by 6 inches/15 centimeters)
  • Pork Terrine with Pork Tenderloin Inlay, prepared through step 7
  • 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
  • Aspic for Meat Terrines, as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F./230 degrees C. Have ready a hinged en croûte mold (12 by 3 by 3 inches/30 by 7.5 by 7.5 centimeters; see Note below) with a removable bottom.

2. On a floured surface, roll the pâté dough out to an 12-by-20-inch/30-by-50-centimeter rectangle, about 1⁄16 inch/0.125 centimeter thick.

3. Remove the bottom of the mold and set it aside. Place the mold upside down on a baking sheet. Gently fit the dough into the mold, being careful not to tear it. Pinch off a small piece of the excess dough, ball it up, dust it with flour, and use it to press the dough into the corners of the mold.

4. Line the dough with the slices of ham, slightly overlapping them and leaving enough overhang to cover the filled terrine.

5. Fill the mold with half of the forcemeat. Lay the tenderloin in the mold, then, pushing it down gently, fill the mold with the remaining forcemeat. Fold the ham over the top. Trim the dough so it will overlap by at least 1⁄2 inch/1 centimeter, and fold it over the top, completely enclosing the pâté, and brushing the seam with egg wash to seal. Slide the bottom of the mold onto what is now the top, then invert the mold onto another baking sheet. Brush egg wash over the top, being careful not to allow egg to seep down into mold (where it could stick and then tear your dough when you unmold it).

6. Bake the pâté until the dough is nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Remove the pâté and set on a rack to rest while the oven cools. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F./160 degrees C. and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reaches 150 degrees F./65 degrees C. Cover the crust loosely with foil if it starts to brown too much. Let cool to room temperature.

7. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before unmolding and slicing.

Yield: 24 slices; 12 appetizer servings

[ NOTE: For larger terrine molds, you may want to cut a steam hole in the crust to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. ]


A pâté en croûte is a pâté baked in a pastry crust. Here the supple dough is rolled into a rectangle about 1⁄16 inch/0.125 centimeter thick.

To determine the desired dimensions of the dough, the mold (the bottom of the mold is removable) is pressed into the rolled dough, marking the dimensions of its sides and ends.

The excess dough is cut away and reserved for later; the dough should extend at least 1⁄2 inch/1 centimeter beyond the mold outline (any excess can always be trimmed away).

The dough is then gently folded accordion-style, or into a ribbon fold, so it can be lifted up and then unfolded in the mold.

A floured dough ball is used to press the dough into all the corners and angles of the mold.

Thin slices of ham are laid into the mold, slightly overlapping. The main function of the ham is as a moisture barrier between the forcemeat and dough, to prevent the dough from becoming soggy. (The ham will also form an elegant border in the sliced pâté and add flavor.) Forcemeat is next added to fill the mold halfway, just as with a pâté en terrine. The main garnish, a whole seared pork tenderloin, is laid in, then covered with the remaining forcemeat. The ham overhanging the sides of the mold is folded over the top.

The pâté en croûte is sealed by folding the dough over the ham, brushing it with egg wash to help it adhere. This, the only seam in the dough, will become the bottom of the pâté.

The bottom of the mold has been replaced and the mold flipped back over. The top of the pâté dough is given a final brushing of egg wash for color. (With a terrine this small, there is no need to make a steam hole; the forcemeat will cook before the dough can become soggy.)

A slice of the finished pâté en croûte: The pâté fills the interior of the crust (the fat has not broken out), the tenderloin is perfectly centered, and the pâté is loaded with colorful and flavorful random garnish.

Pâté Dough

  • 81⁄2 ounces/235 grams bread flour
  • 3⁄4 ounce/17 grams nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons/11 grams kosher salt
  • 3 ounces/84 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tablespoons/75 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters white or cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour, milk powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix to combine. Add the butter bit by bit.

2. Combine the egg and milk in a small bowl, then add the vinegar. Add to the flour mixture and mix until a stiff dough forms.

3. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day before using.

Yield: 10 ounces/300 grams dough

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