When you’re hosting a party or just inviting some friends over for dinner, you want delicious, simple recipes that people don’t expect or don’t see a lot of. That is why en croute is a perfect idea for hosting. En croute is a dish that has been wrapped in pastry dough and then baked in the oven. It’s incredibly versatile and a favorite of many. You can stuff the inside with any item of your choosing. Salmon, beef, and brie are popular choices.
The wrapping is usually created with either puff pastry or straight pastry dough. Puff pastry is more commonly used. It’s made by folding and rolling pastry dough to create many layers that will puff up when cooked. Straight pastry dough remains flat and thus, is usually the less desired choice. Cooking times vary depending on how long it takes the dough to get a nice golden crust and depending on what is inside.
For now we will focus on pâté en croute which, as you can guess, is pâté wrapped in the puff pastry. First start with the pastry dough. You can buy pre-packaged puff pastry sheets to save on time. Make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight as you cannot work with it when it is frozen. Roll it open on a floured flat surface and make sure to not let it get too warm as it becomes sticky and harder to manage.
Then pick the pâté of your choosing. Chicken and Veal Pâté or Pheasant and Rosemary Pâté are popular choices. Divide them into portions that fit the sheet. Don’t fill it up too much as it may make the dough soggy. Leave a one inch border around each filling (you can use a ruler if you wish) and cut around that. Then take the sides and press lightly to make a cover for the contents inside. Prick the surface lightly with a fork, a technique called docking, which allows the pastry to release steam as it bakes. Brush the puff pastry with an egg wash prior to baking for a more golden colored finished product.
Bake following the directions on the puff pastry packaging, or until the crust is a golden brown. Serve to guests and brace yourself for recipe questions!