Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Teurgoule

In Normandy every Sunday morning in accordance with ancient tradition the fearless men of the Calvados region gather with their forks and hope to hunt the wild and menacing teurgoule.

OK, I'm lying. Teurgoule is indeed a speciality of the Calvados area but, let's not beat around the Normandy bush, it's a type of rice pudding.

There are a number of stories about the origin of this simple speciality but I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable or gullible to say if they're true or not. So let's just say that this is a very slowly cooked rice pudding that's usually flavoured with cinnamon. That may seem a bit of an incongruous flavour for northern France but once upon a time spices, including cinnamon, would come ashore at Honfleur and the other ports along the Normandy coast. As for the strange name, there are plenty of explanations and it's often translated as “twisted mouth” but, since it has more of a patois or slang origin, I think that “mangled mug” might be better. The implication seems to be that you'll be gobsmacked at how nice it tastes once you try it.

Traditionally this dish should be made in an earthenware bowl but a good, old-fashioned British pudding basin will work just fine. It needs to have a capacity of a little over 1 litre but, ideally, not much more than 1 litre.
Teurgoule
As with so many traditional and regional French dishes, I’m pleased to say that the teurgoule has a confrerie to preserve and promote it and this is pretty close to the approved and official recipe. To be honest, I'm not that fond of cinnamon and I replace it with vanilla powder (my apologies to the members of the confrerie).

I'd expect this to serve 4 people but I know that there are some blighters who can't stop eating this pudding once they start so it's best to have plenty.

75 g short grain (pudding) rice
90 g golden caster sugar (actually, pure white is more usual but I prefer golden)
1 tsp ground cinnamon or vanilla powder
Pinch of salt
1 litre whole milk

Preheat the oven to 150⁰C. Mix the rice, sugar, salt and cinnamon or vanilla together and place in the bottom of your chosen dish or basin. Pour the milk gently over the rice mixture, being careful to avoid disturbing it too much. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes.

Turn the oven temperature down to 110⁰C and continue cooking for 4 - 4½ hours. (Yes, it  really does take that long). When the teurgoule is ready the top will have become dark brown and look slightly alien but the mixture underneath will still have a bit of a wobble if you tip the bowl. The teurgoule will thicken a little as it cools.

Allow the teurgoule to cool and, if you're not eating it immediately, store in the fridge. Either way, I thinks it's best served at or close to room temperature but serve it hot or very cold if that's what you fancy - it will taste good at all temperatures. There always seems to be disagreement in Britain between lovers and haters of rice pudding skin. Teurgoule is cooked for so long that the skin resembles leather in my opinion. I may well serve up the skin but that's largely to prove that it's been cooked authentically. I expect everyone to push it aside and refuse to eat it.
Teurgoule
The confrerie will tell you that teurgoule should be eaten alongside fallue and I'm certainly not going to argue with that. Fallue is hard to find outside of Calvados and a decent brioche will do in its place (I'm in so much trouble with the confrerie for saying that). If I don't get too distracted, I may get around to a post about fallue shortly.

10 comments:

  1. That's an impressive skin! I haven't seen one like that for over 45 years (my mother's rice pudding)! Although if it really is like leather it might be a bit too tough for even most skin lovers. ;)

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    1. I think the main job of the skin on the teurgoule is to hold in the moisture and keep the rice very creamy as a result. I wouldn't object to anyone eating the skin but if it's been cooked for around five and a half hours then it's never going to be soft and might be a bit of a challenge to anyone. But maybe that's just me being unadventurous.

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  2. Phil, I'm intrigued. I've never cooked a rice pudding for so long, and I want to see just how leathery that pudding skin gets! And I'll let you know if it's edible.

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    1. I know we usually think of the top of a rice pudding as a skin but once it's cooked for this long it becomes more of a crust and takes on a bit of a life of its own. That's not to say that it won't appeal to some or maybe many people, of course. Personally, I love the soft, creamy rice but I can happily ignore the skin/crust.

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  3. I love the skin on a rice pudd, but this might be too much of a challenge! Pudding sounds good, so another one to try.

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    1. I'm not a rice pudding skin fan so perhaps I don't have a truly independent view but this is definitely more substantial than a classic British skin.

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  4. Rice pudding is probably my favourite pudding of all time and the skin is the best part. Luckily in our family I'm the only one who would kill for a good rice pudding skin so I usually get to eat the lot. In fact I would eat the whole of this pudding too given the chance, it sounds delicious.

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    1. I've no idea why but there often seems to be one person per family who wants to eat the skin. I think someone should carry out some academic research on the subject.

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  5. Phil, after making the fallue, I of course had to make the teurgoule and have done so twice. Posted it just a while ago (with links to you, of course). Mr Delightful and I are not pudding skin people, so I just peeled it off. Love the pudding! Was amazed that there was a hint of cinnamon in the pudding, having seen it rise to the top and get baked into the leathery crust. Any baked rice pudding I've ever made called for multiple stirrings, so I had to resist the urge to stir--no stirring AND the best rice pudding ever!

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    1. I'm extremely pleased to hear that you liked it. It really does feel wrong to just leave this strange beast in the oven without stirring or even sparing it much of a thought but I'm a big fan of puddings that take so little effort.

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