Pâté chaud, or bánh patê sô, is a flaky, buttery, and piping hot savory meat pie that goes great with a cup of Vietnamese coffee. This is similar to the popular Australian hand pies. They are the perfect on the go snack and this recipe gives you fresh pâté chaud at home that you can share with friends and family when the cravings hit.
Bánh patê sô translates to “hot meat pie.” Similar to Vietnamese foods like banh mi, pâté chaud or bánh patê sô, also has origins from French colonialism. In the mid 19th century, French chef Urbain Dubois described a pastry called Pâté-chaud à la Marinière, a French seafood pie covered with a puff pastry shell; This pastry is thought to be an early influence on bánh patê sô.
These days, I usually pick some up from local little Saigon shops like Bánh Mì Chè Cali or Gala Coffee. However, if you don’t live near a large Vietnamese population, you can make it at home using this recipe.
The puff pastry
I would like to thank Ina Garten for instilling in me the idea that store bought is a fine option if you don’t have time to make a puff pastry dough–who has time to make dough when a pâté chaud craving hits? Not this dude. For this recipe, we used store-bought puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm to be exact) and it works great.
Puff pastry is finely tuned dough with hundreds layers of alternating butter and dough (700+ layers in the classic version). It’s your job to keep those layers of butter cold and solid.
In the oven, the water in the dough evaporates and the fatty butter melts into the layers and helps each layer expand into light, flaky goodness that is puff pastry.
The easiest way to defrost puff pastry is to leave it to thaw on your counter for one to two hours before using. You want to make sure it’s still a little bit frozen, then carefully unfold the dough to prevent it from cracking. If you notice some cracks when unfolding, you can use a rolling pin to lightly roll out the cracks. Try not to overwork the dough though!
To get the optimum puff in your pastry, after you assemble your pâté chaud, chill the dough again in the fridge to re-solidify the butter in the pastry before putting it into the oven. I like to cut about three by three squares of puff pastry for each pâté chaud because it’s a nice size for finger food.
Pâté chaud filling ranges from ground pork to other variations that include ground beef or chicken. You can also add other items such as wood ear mushrooms, pâté, oyster sauce, or more. For this photo set went with chicken, for a healthier alternative than the popular pork.
The beauty of this meat pie is that you can customize it based on your preferences. I actually prefer the traditionalist route with ground pork sauteed with onions.
Just a quick tip, sweating the onions beforehand improves the aroma of pâté chaud greatly, and reduces the amount of moisture in your meat mixture–helping the puff pastry get a better rise.
You can make these ahead of time and then reheat them in the toaster oven when you’re ready to eat. I love to eat piping hot pâté chaud with a fresh cup of Vietnamese coffee, or if you have a sweet tooth, icy coconut Vietnamese coffee.
Pâté Chaud Recipe (Bánh Patê Sô)
Dough & sealer
- 1 pack puff pastry Pepperidge Farm has 2 sheets of 10x15”, but any brand will do
- 1 extra large egg egg whites and yolk separated into two bowls and lightly beaten
- 1 lb ground pork or ground chicken
- ⅔ c chopped onion sweated with 2 tbsp oil until fragrant, then cooled
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- ⅓ tsp MSG or chicken bouillon
- 1 tsp potato starch or 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- Defrost the puff pastry dough on the counter for about one to two hours. You want to make sure that the dough is a little frozen so that it doesn’t over-soften while you work with the dough.
- Sweat onions on medium-low heat until fragrant then set aside until cooled, about five minutes.
- Combine the onions, ground meat, salt, sugar, ground pepper, MSG, and potato starch into a bowl and mix well.
- Taste test: put ½ tsp meat in the microwave on a small plate and taste it to make sure you like the seasoning, adjust as needed.
Assembly & baking
- Preheat the oven at 350 °F degrees.
- Unfold the dough carefully and if there are any cracks, make sure to lightly roll out the cracks. If you find your dough softening too much, put it back in the fridge to solidify.
- Cut the dough into three by three inch squares.
- The amount of filling you add onto each square varies depending on the size of the square. For a three by three square, spoon in about 1.5-2 tablespoons filling onto the middle of each square. The goal is to add enough that’s a good dough to meat ratio, but not overload it so the top layer has to stretch too much, or so much that the filling will spill out.
- Separate the egg whites and yolks of two small eggs into two bowls.
- Brush the egg whites along the edges of the square and gently place the top square over the meat filling.
- Using the tips of a fork, crimp the edges of the square to seal the top and bottom squares.
- Lightly brush the egg yolk over the top. This creates a nice golden crust when baked.
- Place all of your pâté chaud on a half sheet over parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. This also varies depending on the size of your squares, but you can tell it’s finished when golden brown.