Recipe: Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard)

Hellooooo…Migliaccio…Can you hear me down there? Next time I’ll use a shallower pan or hire a photographer.

With all the snow, my mind keeps returning to migliaccio, an Italian custard made from farina. In Italian, migliaccio would be pronounced meal-YA-choh. But it’s been generations since my Neapolitan relatives floated over to our shores and the word has been butchered into mul-YACH. Although I have studied Italian, I don’t bother pronouncing it correctly because no one would know what the heck I was saying. Case in point, I sent my mom an email about this recipe with the correct spelling and she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. She thought I was referring to an old friend with that surname. So, mul-YACH it is.

I grew up in Ozone Park, New York, just a few blocks away from my Aunt Margaret, the daughter of Grandma Margaret of Italian Cheesecake fame. Every night after dinner, we’d walk around the corner to have coffee. The Pyrex glass pot would be on the stove, the coffee inside having been reheated many times that day. Some of you are wincing, I’m sure, but we liked it strong. Never mind that I was under ten and drinking coffee that would put hair on your chest. These days Child Protective Services would be all over that in a heartbeat. Times have changed.

The first snow of the winter season always filled us with glee because it was Aunt Marg’s tradition to make migliaccio. And no matter how high the snow, Aunt Margaret, who possessed better snow navigation skills than even the postman, would always get it to us.

Neither rain nor snow nor coffee klatch will keep Aunt Marg from delivering mul-YACH. 🙂

Most everyone in my family prefers mul-YACH after it has set in the refrigerator and can be neatly sliced. Not bad on a hot summer afternoon, but this is snow food and I’m impatient and in need of inner warmth. So, I tend to scoop my bubbling serving out with a big spoon while it’s all soft and pudding-like. Do I hear an um num num?

A word about the pan you use. If you want to slice it neatly, don’t use the one featured in my photo. The sides are too high and you’ll never get it out in one piece. But if you’re planning on slurping it down using a bowl and spoon, then who really cares, right?

I eat mul-YACH as a snack, but with farina, milk, and eggs in the ingredients, it could count as breakfast.

Give it a try, mangia mangia, and let me know what you think. And see if you can refrain from making it the next time it snows. Bet you can’t.


Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


2 cups cold water
1/2 cup farina
1/8 lb unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. On the stovetop, cook farina in water, stirring until thickened.
    (I use ceramic-glass bakeware (e.g., CorningWare), which can go from stovetop to oven, thereby saving me from washing an extra pot. Good times. 🙂 )
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with the milk.
  3. Remove farina from heat and add butter, sugar, milk/egg mixture, and vanilla.
  4. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Place in oven, and lower temperature to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake 1 hour or more until bubbling and brown.

(If you’re like me, immediately spoon some out into a bowl and take a big mouthful, burning every damn cell in your mouth and making it impossible for you to taste the spoonfuls that come next.)

Enjoy! While you’re eating, take a peek at my recipe for Farina Muffins. Yum.



  1. Joseph Hayes said,

    January 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Mmm, thanks for making the favorite dessert of PunOAK!

  2. January 18, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Tried this before . Mixture in graham cracker crust. Cinnamon on top. Coffee black of course.

    • January 18, 2011 at 8:18 am

      Mmmm, that sounds good. I’ve also seen a version of this with ricotta in the mixture and in a pie shell. Also yummy. But I prefer that one cold.

      • January 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

        Yes ricotta. You would not think a cheese well associate with stuffing ravs and such is also a dessert ingredient.

  3. Richard said,

    January 18, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Sounds yum num num! I want some! Despite the fact that the English snow is long gone. Over here, we’d probably pronounce it migg-leech-ee-oh or something. 😉

    You should probably include rappelling gear in the ingredients so you can get to it in that bowl. 😛

    Love the nostalgia in this one. 🙂

  4. January 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Carl, Sicilian casatelli is another great dessert with ricotta. Like an empanada filled with sweetened ricotta and shaved chocolate. The other side of my family made those.

  5. Zahara said,

    January 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Butter? sugar? coffee? Count me in.

  6. suzicate said,

    January 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    It sounds delish. I’ll have to ask my elderly (98) Italian friend about it…she’s a fabulous cook, maybe she’ll make it for me!

    • January 18, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Let me know if she’s heard of it. I’m curious. When I was writing this blog, I couldn’t find it mentioned on the internet in English, so I looked it up in Italian and found a bunch of recipes, all different. Many of them have orange or lemon flavorings in them, or use a different kind of grain.

      • Deborah Russell said,

        January 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

        My mother in law used to make a chocolate farina pie. Have you ever heard of it? I would love the recipe, as we did not get it from her before she passed away. All I know is that the crust is made from stroffle (spelling?) dough. It’s the filling I’m not sure of

      • January 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        I’ve never heard of that, Deborah. However, a crust made from strufoli dough sounds divine. My Sicilian great-grandfather made strufoli in the shape of balls. His version was one that you had to slice as the dough and honey were very hard. It made for a great “dunker” in coffee. On my Neapolitan side, they made bow ties or balls, but they were much lighter and the honey wasn’t hard, so you could pull pieces off. Um num num. I feel a craving coming on. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. fordeville said,

    January 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

    There’s another snow event coming tomorrow night. Checking pantry now for availability of all ingredients. Sounds sublime.

  8. January 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    OK, I laughed OUT LOUD at you caption below the photo. Don’t know why that cracked me up so much. But it did. Thanks. I found you at SuziCate’s and loved your comment there.

    • January 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      A photographer I am not, though I’m realizing I need to become one for the purpose of this blog. Thanks for stopping by to comment. I just visited Altared Spaces. Wow. I love it. I’ll be back after dinner.

      • January 21, 2011 at 9:16 am

        Who needs to become a photographer with a face as gorgeous as yours and a sharp wit that makes people laugh?? If you are successful at everything how will I be able to relate to you??? You must throw me a bone here. Do NOT take a photography lesson.

  9. January 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

    ROFL. You’re funny, Rebecca. Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  10. bronxboy55 said,

    February 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

    I just melted into my chair reading this. I can only hope we’re long-lost cousins so we can get together for Sicilian desserts. (And now that I think of it, I imagine it would be hard to prove we’re not long-lost cousins.) I loved the caption, too. I’m going back to read it again.

    • February 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Thanks, Charles. I was looking through my recipe file last night trying to decide which of the Sicilian recipes I want to put up. It’s 2-0 Neapolitans at the moment. 😉

      The problem is I don’t have original recipes from that side of the family. Everything was a handful of this, a pinch of that. No measurements. And since I was very young at the time, I don’t even have a good recollection of what stuff looked like in the making. Sometimes just knowing the desired consistency of something helps you along. That’s how the old-timers did it, I think.

      Regarding being long-lost cousins, don’t worry, I’m already referring to you as cugino. 🙂

  11. Josie said,

    April 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Margaret. my husband’s family, origionally from Naples, Ischia, (and how coincidental, half the family lives in Howard Beach), also have a recipe for “mool -Yach”. Their recipe, although very delicious is very different from your recipe. Their recipe is more of a noodle pudding with very thin pasta and ricotta and very sweet. Your family’s Mool -Yach looks so delicious, I can’t wait to make it, I know I’m gonna love it!

    • April 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Josie. Thanks for stopping by. Your husband’s family’s recipe sounds yummy. Feel like sharing it? 🙂

      • Josie said,

        April 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

        Hi Margaret, I found the recipe, it’s real easy.


        3 lbs. ricotta
        1 dozen eggs
        1 package of fine egg noodles
        1 1/2 cups sugar
        extra sugar for sprinkling
        2 oranges, zest and juice
        2 teaspoons vanilla
        dash of cinnamon
        2 sticks butter, melted to soften

        Cook noodles, mix into all ingredients. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 until golden brown. When done, cut into squares. Enjoy!

      • April 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm

        That sounds yummy! Thanks so much for coming back to post the recipe.

  12. vmayberry said,

    July 24, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Don’t know you at all…but I love farina and flan separately. Decided to see what kind of custard I could make and ended up using basically the same recipe you have here, add cinnamon, Soooooooooflippingdelicious. Seriously. I hope no one else in my family of 5 likes it so that I can eat it all by myself. Mmmmmmmm!

    • July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Ha, good luck with that. Maybe put a label on it that says “leftover liver.” That would have worked in my house.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  13. January 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    […] named this recipe Wacky Rice and Beans because of my haphazard way of cooking. Unlike my popular Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard) recipe where I give you exact measurements for all ingredients, this dish is a bit different. […]

  14. Huffygirl said,

    February 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I’m glad you mentioned this Margaret, because somehow I missed this before. Don’t know how that could have happened, because I never intentionally skip an email from “Conjuring my Muse.” The ingredients sound so mundane, to turn into something apparently so delightful. Think if would work with margarine instead of butter?

    • February 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      I’m not sure about the margarine substitution, Huffy. But if you try it and it works, be sure to come back and let the other margarine-using people know. 🙂

  15. Edie said,

    February 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

    OMG. I cannot believe that SOMEONE else knows what mulyach is!!! My Napliatano mom had a tradition of always making it (mostly for me) on Fat Tuesday. She was never one to share recipes and even hides them. Sadly, she has alzheimer’s now and I thought this fabulous memory was lost forever. When I found this recipe, I literally cried. My mom is still with me and I hope she remembers it when I make it for her. Which I plan to do today. It’s not Fat Tuesday, but I’ll make an exception!

    • February 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Edie, your comment made me cry. I hope our family recipe comes close to what you remember. If you get a moment, let me know how it turned out.

  16. March 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    […] could have guessed that my family recipe for Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard) would top my Most Viewed chart? When did farina, eggs, and sugar become so popular? It just goes […]

  17. Sicily mul | Weiteren said,

    April 25, 2012 at 3:09 am

    […] Recipe: Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard) « Conjuring My MuseJan 17, 2011 … Most everyone in my family prefers mul-YACH after it has set in the refrigerator and … Carl, Sicilian casatelli is another great dessert with ricotta. […]

  18. April 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Sooooooooo glad to see this again. This is the post where I met you. It is quintessential YOU. The caption is the best. I adore it. And….interestingly to me, it’s food. I LOVE that the most.

    • April 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Wow, it’s been over a year. Time flies, my friend. Thanks for coming back to this one for a visit. You must have heard the echo from the “too deep” migliaccio pan.

  19. June 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

    […] And if you just gotta have more farina, see my family recipe for Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard). Share this:EmailPrintFacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  20. April 26, 2014 at 10:15 am

    […] Enjoy! And if you just gotta have more farina, see my family recipe for Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard). […]

  21. Rosemarie said,

    March 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    My best friend was just telling me about this recipe that her Italian mother in law (May she rest in peace) would make during Lent. Kathleen was pronouncing it just as mentioned above – Moy – ach… or something like that. We didn’t get to make it before I left so I decided to look it up and came across your blog. I enjoyed reading it and all the comments. Thanks so much for posting. I shall give this a try and hope it comes out as nicely as yours and Kathleen’s. I sent her a copy of this link too. Wishing you all the best. Rosemarie D. Chesapeake, Va.

    • March 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      I’m so glad you found my post. It’s snowing here at the moment, so I’ll be making it again. 🙂
      Best regards.

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