Pâté en croûte is a French term meaning “pâté in crust.”
This is how all pâtés used to be cooked.
The crust wasn’t originally eaten; it was just a protective cooking mould, discarded instead of eaten. Now, the crust is considered a treat.
To make one, the pâté is baked in a crust that covers it completely, save for a hole in the top of the crust.
As the pâté bakes, it shrinks back from the crust. When removed from the oven, and while cooling but still quite warm, aspic is poured in through the hole. The warm meat absorbs the aspic and expands back out to fill the crust again.
The aspic, in addition to providing moisture and interest, also strengthens the meat mixture, allowing it to be sliced thinly without crumbling.
Pâté en croûte is best made in a springform pan for ease of extricating it all afterward intact.