Teurgoule is a culinary speciality of Normandy that goes back to the 18th century. It was invented by François Orceau de Fontette, the procurator of the constituency of Caen, appointed by Louis XV in 1752.
As procurator, he imported rice and spices to prevent riots erupting at a time when Normandy was threatened by famine. Rice was virtually unknown in France at the time, and the people of Normandy were not familiar with it, so they were given a recipe for cooking it with milk – Teurgoule!
The rice, in fact, came from a privateer that had disembarked with its cargo in Honfleur, and which Fontette had requisitioned.
Origin of the name
The word teurgoule comes from ‘se tordre la goule’ (‘pull a face’ in the Norman dialect) but opinions as to the explanation for this are divided. Some think it’s because people ate it quickly while it was still very hot, others that the taste of the cinnamon – a spice unknown before this time – made them wince.
Another theory is that teurgoule comes from the Breton word ‘tourgouilh’ meaning ‘fatty milk’.
- 150 grams short-grain rice
- 2 litres unpasteurised milk if available, otherwise whole milk
- 200 grams sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Place the rice and sugar in an ovenproof dish and pour over the milk. Sprinkle two teaspoons of cinnamon over the top. Bake 4-5 hours in a bread oven. If you don’t have a bread oven, bake in a regular oven preheated to 150°C (gas mark 5) for 1 hour, then lower the temperature to 110°C (gas mark 3-4) and cook for a further 5 hours. The teurgoule is cooked when it’s no longer liquid and the top is golden. It should be eaten while it’s hot so you get the full flavour of the cinnamon. The traditional accompaniment to teurgoule is another Norman speciality, a brioche known as fallue.
The Teurgoule d’Or
The Teurgoule and Fallue Association of Normandy holds a nationwide contest every year for the best teurgoule, open to professionals and also to amateurs and young people aged 7 to 14.