Tian de Lait Rustique

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Cream

The lasting richness of a civet is best followed by something simple. This old recipe for vanilla cream was once made with sweetened goat’s milk thickened with eggs, but now cow’s milk is more common. Serve the pudding with a big dollop of jam in the middle, or rub ¾ lb/375 g fresh fruit-cherries, raspberries, strawberries-through a sieve and spoon the resulting purée around the edges.


  • 1 pt/500 ml milk (goat’s milk if you can get it)
  • 1 strip dried orange peel
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1-2 tbsp/15-30 ml rum
  • 3 oz/75 g sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Possible Addition

  • 3 pieces of crustless french bread, in fine crumbs
  • 2 tbsp/30 ml brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/ gas 6. Heat the milk just to boiling with the orange peel and vanilla pod. Turn down the heat very low and stir in the rum and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Take out the vanilla and orange and pour the liquid very slowly into the eggs, stirring continuously. Strain this into 6-8 individual ramekins and stand them in a shallow pan of cold water. Bake until set (about 45 minutes). Spoon jam or puréed fruit on top to serve.

Possible Addition

For a richer pudding, mix together the bread and brown sugar and spread on an oiled baking dish. Bake until caramelized in the preheated oven and fold into the ramekins of custard before putting them in the oven.