Pâté Pantin, special pot-luck edition.
Not much in the way of luck so far in the first 3% of 2010; paltry paychecks, volumes of cat puke, flat bicycle tires…though sister did leave a nominal amount of top notch reefer. Weaning daylight hours, stifling solitude (except for the regularly regurgitating felines) and pedaling from basement home to basement work uphill fighting headwinds both ways is enough to supplement the defeatist audit of abandoned ambition, fleeting success and pipe dreams. The opportunity to fabricate pâté pantin 5.0, albeit for strangers, could not be passed up and provided a rare chance to hone the meat, starch and jelly charcuterie triptych since pâté for 1 condones gluttony rather than the merits of perfection by way of experiment through proper nourishment of guests.
Forcemeat consisted of pork shoulder, pork belly and chicken breast marinated for a week in leftover Thanksgiving rum (Armagnac can not be spared), red wine (no Port in the home bar), olive oil, sage, rosemary and garlic. Chicken gizzards were cured with salt, pepper and #1 then confit in veal tallow. Pastry was a standard pâte a foncer with 50% fat butter/lard, egg, water and salt though mysteriously, despite attentive measurements the finished product erred to the side of salty like the tears of my ennuie.
A farce à gratin was made from puréeing equal parts chicken livers and marinated meat for a total weight of 1/3rd of the forcemeat. 1/3 was ground and the remaining 1/3 was comprised of diced chicken, pork, fatback, gizzards, pistachios and dried cherries. Seasoning was a standard 1.5% salt, .25% #1 and spices in proportions relative to mood, whim and availability.
The pâté was assembled and decorated with the iconic Gallic emblem. Contrary to a pâté en croûte, the pâté pantin is freestanding and cooked without a mold. The thing was baked at high heat (450F) for 40 minutes until an internal temperature of 145F was achieved and left to cool. Once cooled, the remaining aspic from the Swedish Christmas ham was colored with red wine and poured into the pâté.
The excess forcemeat and dough was used to make 3 diminutive traditional pâtés en croûte. They were baked for 20 minutes and filled with aspic in the same manner.
Krusty the Loaf: Aesthetically both pâtés were a delight. Gustatorily the forcemeat was tasteful, properly seasoned, moist, well colored with a pleasant texture. The pastry however was slightly heavy on the salt. Structurally, there was room for improvement on the pantin version. The pastry was rolled out too thin and crumbled upon slicing. The pastry recipe is within the margin of success though it has been suggested than a token amount of vinegar might strengthen the dough and baking powder lighten it, both of which MobyP uses (Allan Brown recipe), though the ingredient list is reminiscent of biscuit preparation.