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.
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.
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.