Friday, 2 March 2012

Le Milla Charentais – Almost

I wasn't sure how to describe this dish but, in case you haven’t come across it before, let’s say that it’s a light and subtly flavoured flan-type thing and that it makes a very pleasing and simple dessert. It’s a traditional recipe from the Charente or, at least, that’s where I first heard of it. Since then I’ve found that there are many similar recipes from various parts of the south of France. They all have maize flour and eggs in common although there are plenty of other variations.
Carrelets at Talmont-sur-Gironde
If you’ve read any of the other posts in this blog you might have gathered that authenticity is not something that I worry about too much, so I certainly wouldn’t claim that this is the real deal. My recipe is closest to the Charente version (well it has cognac) but is actually a bit of a mix between a number of the recipes that have fallen into my lap. Anyway, it’s the way I like it – very eggy, fairly sweet and with a balance of lemon and cognac flavours.

I hope that anyone I know in the Charente will forgive me.
Le Milla
370 ml milk
80 g maize flour
20 g plain flour
140 g caster sugar
3 tbsp cognac
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs, separated
80 g unsalted butter, softened - plus more for the mould

Butter a 22 cm cake tin – a springform tin is probably the easiest. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Sieve the two flours together. Heat the milk, cognac and lemon zest in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Pour the hot milk mixture onto the flours while beating as if your life depended on it. Beat in 100 g of the sugar followed by the butter. Finally beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage and then whisk in the remaining 40 g of sugar until the whites are stiff and glossy. Fold the egg whites into the milk and flour mixture – you need to be thorough but gentle. Pour the mixture into the tin.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the milla has set but is still a little wobbly in the middle and is nicely light brown on top.  Turn off the oven and let the milla stay in the cooling oven for 10 minutes or so.

Le milla Charentais should be served warm I've been told, although personally I rather like it at room temperature.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting recipe, Phil - it looks somewhere between a cake and an egg custard. Lovely!

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  2. Oooooohhh....yummmmmmm...I love it! Wish I can have a slice right now this will definitely aid with recovery, honestly. I've finally purchased my canele mould today and it should arrive early in the week. I'm rather excited Phil! Can't wait for my parcel! It's like a get well present for myself lol : )

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  3. That looks good - light, not to sweet - a fab dessert.

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  4. I have to admit to never tasting it despite the fact that I live here. I will change that now and cook one today thanks. Diane

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  5. This looks delicious and very interesting. I don't think I have seen it in France but I will take the recipe with me at Easter and give it a go.

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  6. Who cares about authenticity when it looks that good! I like to have a dessert sometimes that isn't too sweet and this looks like it will fit the bill nicely!

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  7. I have relatives in the north of France and I am sure I have seen this before. They are very proud of their cakes and they certainly should be. French baking is very very good, I make the most of it when I go over there!
    Yours looks very good, a nice simple and flavourful cake, great with a cup of coffee!

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  8. This sounds fantastic, I can almost imagine the taste. The colour is fantastic, would cheer anyone up! Also...French Onion Soup for breakfast? It sounds like quite a story...

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    1. Thanks for that - I think this is a cheerful colour, too. If you wander into a café near a large French market somewhere near breakfast time (and why not?) then you may well find onion soup. To be fair, it's probably lunch time for a lot of the market workers and supper time for those who've been up all night.

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  9. Yes - this is it! We have had this at our French neighbour's house when we went there for "dessert". I live in the Charente Maritime, near Royan and Saintes, and they often add a glug of Pineau des Charentes to the batter too.

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