Tarte á la Bouille

As long as I can remember, my grandmother's maid, Emma, would make Tarte a la Bouille pies. I could live on them. They are delicious warm, they are delicious cold. When I think of pies, I think of this. It's much different than what we think of in a traditional pie. This contains custard with a sweet dough crust. (We sometimes call them Cream Pie.) 

Emma says she didn't have a recipe. We were all panicked at her funeral. 

When I lived in Birmingham in my late 20s, I ate at a "Meat and Three". We didn't have those kinds of words and menu options in south Louisiana. It was good, and I even chose a dessert. One looked so similar to a Tarte a la Bouille. They called it Butter pie. I took one bite, but not another. 

When I go home to south Louisiana, I get Tarte á la Bouille pies at L&N Grocery in Thibodaux. While I thoroughly enjoy Rouse's Grocery stores, their Tarte á la Bouille pies are not up to my high standards. 

Below is the recipe for the custard for the pie and the recipe for the cake. The sweet dough crust is more labor intensive, and I've not journeyed there but hopefully will soon. 

From the family cookbook of Wendy Baldwin, Labadieville, LA

From a lecture class by Chef John Folse called 'Sweets and More'. John Folse told us that the best custard he had ever tasted was that made by Dr. Donald Ayo's (NSU President at the time) wife. 


Custard Recipe:

* 3 cups half and half or...

*2 cups half and half & one cup whole milk or...

*1 cup half and half & 2 cups whole milk

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs, separated 

1/2 stick butter

(*any combination to equal 3 cups)


Heat or scald milk until skin forms on the surface. Combine 4 egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a small amount of hot milk to egg mixture to temper the eggs. Add the mixture to scalded milk and cook on medium heat stirring constantly with wire whisk. When mixture starts to coat the whisk, add butter and vanilla and continue cooking to desired consistently. This is the basic custard recipe for Tarte á la Bouille Pie. 

Recipe for Tart a la Bouille Cake: 

Mix a purchased butter cake mix as directed on the box and pour into a greased 9 x13 inch pan. Pour the custard directly into the bake and bake as directed.