At long last…a bouillie recipe!

p3270111The simplest foods often have the strongest hold in memory.  For many people in south Louisiana, bouillie is serious comfort food, evoking grandmeres, holidays, and days gone by.  It’s nothing more than a stovetop egg & cornstarch vanilla custard, often baked in a sweet-dough crust (tarte a la bouillie), or poured warm over angel food cake, pound cake, strawberries, or even toasted french bread ends.  Spooned into ramekins, it will cool to a softer set than commercial puddings.  (Try it cold, drizzled with a little Steen’s, for breakfast.)

Someone from Baton Rouge emailed me this week, looking to recreate his mother’s long lost recipe.  Here’s my version of the Cajun custard; it is simple and straightforward, with just a bit of sugar, only one egg, and a combination of fresh and evaporated milk.  Common variations call for  fresh milk & cream, canned condensed milk, or significantly more sugar.

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

12 oz evaporated mik (1 tall can)p32701041

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 tablespoons butter

Combine cornstarch & sugar in a small saucepan; whisk in the egg.  p3270105

It will be dry and clumpy at first.  Keep whisking until the entire mixture is evenly moist and yellow.

Pour in the evaporated milk, whole milk, and split vanilla bean.  Whisk vigorously to dissolve the sugar p3270108& cornstarch.  Cook over low heat, stirring often.  As mixture approaches the boiling point, it will give off a little steam and begin to thicken; stir with a spoon or spatula, scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent lumps.

p3270110Once the mixture is thick, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.  Remove the vanilla bean and either serve warm over cubed cake, pour into ramekins and chill, or use to fill a 9″ sweet-dough crust.

It doesn’t get much easier than this.  Modern twists on this old recipe include replacing the sugar with Splenda for a low-calorie, diabetic friendly version, substituting skim & fat-free evaporated milk, and using almond, butter rum, or other extracts to flavor the custard.  I stick with the classic version, myself.

10 thoughts on “At long last…a bouillie recipe!

  1. South of Bayou Pigeon is a grocery store that carries tarte a la bouille. I only wish you could buy them in Baton Rouge. I plan to try and make some for a charity bake sale. Many people in Baton Rouge have never heard of them. Thank you for the memories.

  2. I really wish they would come to Baton Rouge. They are divine. Thank you for the map. I may call them and see if they would overnight me a couple.

  3. I know of a small town grocery store called Galliano Food store. There, they make bouille tarts, but only on holidays. Sometime after Halloween, and end around New Years. You can also order them ahead of time by calling 1(985)632-7195. Only during holidays @ at least a day in advance. Leave your name and number. They’ll call you when it’s done.

  4. I was with a group of Entergy who were stationed near Galliano, and we were invited by a local church Sacred Heart Catholic Church, to eat with them one night. I had some Bouille there that one of the ladies made and brought. It was the best thing I’d eaten in months. Thanks to the ladies and youth group of the church for treeating us so well and introducing me to bouille.

  5. I have a recipe for a pudding cake but didn’t get the final part. It calls for a white or yellow boxed cake mix, mixed according to box instructions but not baked. You then make the pudding. I don’t have the rest of the recipe. Does anyone know what to do from here? I was at my aunt’s funeral when I ate this, and it was delicious.

    • I’m not familiar with this cake, but I did find a chocolate version here: The instructions call for making the pudding, then stirring the dry cake mix into the pudding before baking. There are MANY versions of pudding cake; without knowing anything about the texture or appearance of the finished cake, it’s hard to know which recipe will work best. Good luck with your search!

  6. As a young person in Eunice , La., being poor, we ate Bouille as a breakfast meal. Only flour was used, along with Cinnamon and nutmeg added. Gary P. Fontenot

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