|Baked Pate after Unmolding|
|Oval Eye Mold|
Traditionally the dough is lined with slices of fat back. Cookbooks say this is to "seal the dough," but I have my doubts. Back fat doesn't seal like a membrane casing, it just renders out fat. I wonder if this is actually to seal the pate by coating the outside of the meat filling with melted fat. This would protect the meat from exposure to oxygen, and possibly extend the shelf life. That explanation sounds plausible, but perhaps people did think the backfat sealed the dough, such as the old myth of searing meat as a way to "lock in juices."
Either way, I sliced up some back fat and shingled the sides and bottom. Then the mold was filled with ground veal mixed with cream, brandy, lemon zest, thyme, mace, beaten eggs, minced onion, and studded with pistachios. Despite the mold looking small, I underestimated the amount of force meat needed (I used 1.25 lbs), and this could have easily held an extra half-pound of filling. That would have made for a prettier, high-rising pate.
|Minced veal forcemeat|