Paté en croute – vegetarian style

Pate en croute

This dish is so fancy! How fancy is it? Well, you’ve got your paté, and you’ve got your croute. That’s fancy! Can’t you just hear Mrs. Patmore saying, “Daisy, stop your daydreaming, and get this up to the grand dining room before Lady Mary collapses in her corset!” Of course, in that scenario, this would probably be stuffed with pheasants. Not here, my friend!

Break it down, and this isn’t hoity toity at all. It’s two of my favorite flavors together – roasted mushrooms & french lentils – mixed with ground almonds, ground hazelnuts, a bit of cheese and some herbs. And all wrapped in a peppery, flaky crust. Now doesn’t that sound good? And healthy? This isn’t hard to make, and most of the components can be made ahead and saved until you’re good and ready for them. I believe there are pans devoted to the preparation of patés. I don’t have one of those! I do have a nice loaf pan from ikea. It’s a little longer and thinner than your average loaf pan. In truth, any such loaf pan would do. This serves quite a few people, and it does seem special, so it would make a nice dinner party meal. But we had a nice weeknight dinner of it- thick slices of this concoction, roasted rosemary potatoes and a big salad.

Here’s Fancy Pants, by Count Basie and his orchestra.

1 batch of paté brisée, with lots of black pepper ground into the flour.

1 batch french lentils prepared this way (I added about 1/2 t. of marmite to the lentils before I added the water.)

1 batch roasted mushrooms. I used 20 oz of baby bellas. You process them briefly before you roast them, so they’re not pureed, but quite finely chopped. A bit like ground meat, actually! YOu want a bit of texture. Then you add the very finely chopped (or processed!) shallot, some sage, rosemary, thyme and olive oil. Roast until they’re getting brown and crispy on the edges of the pan. They won’t get as crispy all over as more coarsely chopped mushrooms.

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
2 t balsamic
pinch nutmeg
salt and plenty of pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter the loaf pan. Take your chilled pate brisee, and roll it into a long rectangle, keeping in mind the dimensions of your loaf pan. YOu want it to be about 1/4 inch thick. Place it over the loaf pan, keeping one edge of the dough even with the edge of the pan. Press the dough down to fit the pan, careful not to stretch it out too much. Press it into the corners, trying to make neat seams where the dough might need to fold up a little.

In a large bowl combine the lentils, mushrooms, nuts, cheese, salt and pepper, nutmeg and balsamic. Stir in all but about 1 T of egg. Mix well to combine everything.

Press the lentil/mushroom mixture into the dough-lined loaf pan. Fold the last flap of dough over the top. Cut off the extra dough all the way around, leaving about 1/2 inch. (save for decoration or Isaac crackers) Seal the edges of the dough, and tuck them neatly down into the loaf pan. Try to keep the top nice and flat and even. You can shape little decorations out of extra dough. I made flowers and leaves, because it was such a lovely hopeful-for-spring day when I made it! Brush the top with egg.

Bake until the top is golden brown, and you have a hollow-ish sound when you tap it. About 40 minutes – but keep an eye on it!

After ten or fifteen minutes, when the dough seems to be set, you can turn the oven down to 375, if it seems like the edges or bottom are getting too brown too fast.

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4 thoughts on “Paté en croute – vegetarian style

  1. I made this for a party and even my mushroom and lentil disliking husband loved it! Now I’m going to make it for a dairy-free friend’s shower (oil for butter, commercial puff pastry which is made with oils instead of my own pate brisee), but what would you suggest for the cheddar? I’m sure I could find vegan cheddar, but how about firm tofu and a healthy dose of nutritional yeast? Open to suggestions…

    • I’m glad it worked out well for you!

      As for a vegan alternative to cheddar…I think a little firm tofu and nutritional yeast might work, good idea! You could probably leave the cheese out altogether and it would still be fine, although the nutritional yeast would add some of that salty flavor. I think the cheddar just helps to bind everything together, so it might be slightly more crumbly without, but still good.

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