Pâté indicates a type of preparation that comes from French haute cuisine; it consists of a dough shell filled with meat, fish or poultry, often scented with truffles. The dough used can be either of puff pastry or of a special pâté dough made with flour, butter and eggs.
Originally the preparation was divided into pâté proper (a filling enclosed in a crust of dough, cooked in a metal mold and served hot) and terrine (i.e. a filling placed in a terracotta, porcelain or cast iron container), completely coated with slices of lard or bacon, successively baked and served cold. Today the term applies to both preparations.
Today, the word pâté is often used, erroneously, to indicate a preparation based on goose, vealliver or chicken livers, then reduced to foam.