Eleanor is the hardest working servant girl in the Poulet Gauche. This is her favorite addition to the kitchen since Jeanne Marie has come to the tavern. She frequently asks that it be served before the main meal so she does not fill up on the other foods.
Jeanne Marie's inspiration for this flan was the Viandier of Taillevant, which first appeared in the 1400's and was reprinted all the way through the 16th century. It would have been a standard cook book in various households, including Jeanne Marie's original house. This recipe is an adaptation of two flans, one for fast days (made with almond milk) and one made with cream. Although Jeanne Marie still manages to find no good meat in the larder on Friday (which she swears has nothing to do with her Papist leanings) she is quite partial to cream in her cooking. This recipe will make two 8" tarts.
Beat all ingredients together except for almonds. Fill two pre-cooked pie crusts or other pastry shells with mixture. Add almond mixture to top of pies. (It will slowly sink to the bottom.) bake for at least 20 minutes in 350o F oven. test with knife until it comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
The basis of this recipe is from D. Eleanor Scully and Terrence Scully, "Early French Cookery: sources, history, original recipes and modern adaptations," 1995, pg. 283. the inspiration for their redaction came from a fifteenth-century version of the Viandier. I chose to add the almonds for taste and to cut down on the sugar. One of the challenges of cooking for the Poulet Gauche is that Jeanne Marie most certainly would have adapted recipes she originally learned in a great house for a more common setting.