Don’t let the name keep you from trying this classic Cajun confection
Tarte à la bouillie isn’t as well known outside the borders of Louisiana as pralines, beignets and Bananas Foster, but it’s a fixture of every Cajun “MeeMaw’s” table in her bayou shack among the moss-covered oaks.
This simple dessert forms a sugar cookie-like crust and a silky custard filling. The name translates to “burnt milk pie.”
Now, I’ve burned milk and it doesn’t taste like this wonderful classic Cajun dessert, so don’t let the name deter you. Every year, members of the Knights of Columbus in Labadieville bake 1,500 of these pies for their annual fundraiser.
If you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to try this pie.
Tarte à la bouillie
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1⁄4 cup cold, salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1⁄2 cup salted butter, cubed
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon whole milk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white, lightly beaten for brushing crust
Sweetened strawberry slices and powdered sugar for garnish
For filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in milk and eggs until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has the consistency of pudding, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in butter and vanilla. Spoon mixture into a medium glass bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Let stand at room temperature until cool.
For crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and baking powder until combined. Add butter, pulsing until mixture resembles coarse grits. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, yolk and vanilla extract. Using a fork, stir egg mixture into flour mixture until almost combined.
Turn out onto a clean surface; using your hands, work dough until it comes together into a ball and resembles sugar cookie dough. Shape into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and sprinkle with flour, shaking out excess.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to pie plate, pressing into bottom and up the sides. Spoon custard into crust, fold edges of dough over filling. Brush with egg whites and freeze for 15 minutes.
Bake until crust is golden brown and center of filling jiggles slightly, 35-40 minutes, covering with foil after 20 minutes to prevent excess browning, if necessary.
Let cool completely, serve with sliced sweetened strawberries and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.