The delicate Picardy duck paté from Amiens is widely known as pâté en croute or paté de canard d'Amiens. This duck product now often including French foie gras and pistachio bits is a delicate terrine baked in a thick pastry crust - a speciality from the Picardy region highly appreciated in the French gastronomic restaurants.
The authentic recipe for this tasty duck pâté baked in a homemade, thick pastry crust was created in the early 1640s by a porkbutcher named Degaud. Picardy's housewives and cooks used to made it with a whole duck, stuffed with rabbit tenderloin, diced mushrooms and fresh lard, and oven baked in a pastry crust for an hour.
The original French cooking requires time and expertise: the best way is to prepare the pastry case the day before and to flambé the meat mixture with local brandybefore stuffing the duck. Today, French Chefs commonly use a deboned duck to save time.
The traditional paté d'Amiens has undergone many variations, even if the cooking is still based on the original recipe. French gourmets for example like adding bits of black truffles, whilst the most popular recipe in Picardy consists in blending bits of French foie gras and pistachio nuts in the meat which gives a tangier refined taste to the pate en croute.
Picardy is a little known producer of duck products but this wonderfully hearty terrine has become a classic on every honourable table in France, especially as a starter for family gatherings, accompanied with a full-bodied Burgundy red wine.
The original "paté d'Amiens" is indeed cooked in a pastry crust - hence its name "en croute" - but it is now also common to find it as a fine duck terrine preserved in typical pots sealed with a rubber ring. In many French gastronomic restaurants, you may find this Picardy speciality served chilled with toasts and complemented with sweet-and-sour cherries.
Top Tip! The particularity of the Amiens pâté en croute is the narrow "chimney" digged on the top of the terrine and filled in with jelly right after the paté is cooked - a real pleasure for both the eyes and palate!