In French, mirliton means a carnival whistle or reed flute, and in Rouen it also means a light little tart filled with a mixture of eggs, butter, cream, sugar, vanilla and ground almonds and halved almonds, baked and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
There’s also a very different Mirliton de Pont-Audemer, a hollow crispy cigarette russe stuffed with crème praliné and closed on either end with dark chocolate.
It’s attributed to the famous medieval chef Guillaume Tirel or Taillevent (1310—95), a native of Pont-Audemer who worked in the kitchens of Charles VI and who in his travels discovered almonds among other things (but certainly not chocolate!).
Mentioned by Rabelais, Taillevent was also long presumed to be the author of France’s first cookery book, the Viandier although apparently a historian found a copy that predated even him.
Images by Gérard, JMN