Bonne Année: How to say Happy New Year in French

How to say "luck" in French + recipe for Lucky New Year Pie with Grand Marnier

Still Life Avant Pie (c) Lynn McBride

Quelle chance! We have a story and a recipe and photos--including the still life, above--for you today by guest blogger Lynn McBride

chance (shons) noun, feminine

    : luck

une chance = a stroke of luck
avoir de la chance = to be lucky
Bonne chance! = Good luck!

French Tartes or Southern Pies?  Oh, the dilemma…

by Lynne McBride

Here’s a favorite quote from Michelle Obama.  When asked what it was like to suddenly live in the White House with an army of staff, she admitted it was great, then said, with wonder:  “If you want pie, there’s pie!”  Hey Michelle, that’s my idea of paradise too.

OK, so what about French pies?  Well, the French  do things a little differently, no surprise there.   Bye-bye American pie.  The difference?  In addition to the sloping shape of the edge of the dish, an American pie is plump and indulgent, and can be piled exuberantly high with whipped cream or meringue, or topped with a decadent crust or crumbs.  Is that American or what?  A French tarte, alternativement, is in a dish that’s shallow with straight, fluted sides.  It’s thin and refined, understated and elegant, most often just a divine crust topped with beautiful fruits.  Oh so French.

French tarts (c) Lynn McBride

Must we choose between the two?  Oh let’s not.  I’m proposing two recipes this week, the best of both worlds.

As you may know...

New Year’s Day in the South is celebrated with Hoppin’ John, a mixture of black-eyed peas and rice, which we eat on that day for good luck throughout the coming year.  Comfort food on a cold day, perhaps, but not the most exciting dish for kicking off a fresh new year.  Many years ago, my husband Ron had an inspiration:  let’s have our OWN lucky food, and we get to choose.  What a concept!  And so we did, and it’s worked well so far.

Any lucky dish for Ron’s has to include the wonderful French Grand Marnier, his favorite flavor, so why not bake it in a pie?  Here follows, then, our family recipe for Lucky New Year pie.

And in the French category:  Nicole, our beloved châtelaine,  makes a tarte which is just perfect: creamy chocolate in a pâte sablée, rich but not too much, sweetened just right, and served with a soupçon of crème fraîche for tang.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it brings you a bit of chance as well.  To you, Dear Readers, a very happy, healthy, and lucky new year!

For Nicole’s Tarte au Chocolat  recipe, go over to this week’s post at http://www.southernfriedfrench.com.

Lucky pie (c) Lynn McBride

Lucky New Year Pie with Grand Marnier
Zest of a small orange, cut in small strips with a zester
1 Tablespoon sugar
(or, garnish with orange slices, but this  sugared zest is a tasty addition)

1  ¼ cups finely ground cookie crumbs from a thin, crisp vanilla cookie (I use LU tea cookies)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons (57 gr) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups ice cubes

1/4 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

½ cup orange juice
2/3  cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup Grand Marnier

1 ¼  cups chilled whipping cream
¼  cup powdered sugar

For Garnish:
Mix zest with 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl and set aside.

For crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F (175C). Mix cookie crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. Stir in melted butter. Transfer mixture to 9-inch (22cm) diameter glass pie dish; press crumbs firmly and evenly onto bottom and up sides to top of dish. Bake until crust is firm and slightly darker in color, about 8 minutes. Cool.

For filling:
Pour enough cold water into medium bowl to come halfway up sides; add 2 cups ice cubes and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes, while you make orange curd.

Whisk sugar, orange juice, egg yolks, grated peel, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens slightly (mixture will coat spoon but will not be thick like curd) about 6 minutes (do not boil). Add gelatin mixture; whisk until gelatin dissolves and mixture is smooth, 1 minute. Add Grand Marnier.  Place saucepan in bowl with ice water until filling is cool to touch, whisking occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer filling to large bowl.

Meanwhile, with electric mixer, beat whipping cream with powdered sugar until stiff  peaks form. Fold 1/4 of whipped cream into filling until incorporated. Fold in remaining whipped cream in 3 additions. Transfer filling to crust, mounding slightly in center. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 4 hours.  Shake excess sugar off orange zest and garnish with zest in center of pie.  Serves 8.
If raw eggs are a concern in your area, use pasteurized eggs.  Those leftover egg whites?  Yum, time to make some French meringues!  Or if you’re feeling virtuous  (it is the New Year, after all), add a couple of whole eggs and make a light omelet.  

Mille Mercis to Kristin for the opportunity to do a guest post at my favorite blog.

Le Coin Commentaires
To leave a comment or a simple "bonjour" for Lynn, click here.

Tart dish

Le Creuset Tart Dish made from durable stoneware in red. Other colors available here.

Lynn McBride is a former magazine editor for Better Homes & Gardens who moved to Burgundy from Charleston, South Carolina. She and her husband serendipitously landed in a medieval château with a French couple, where she’s busy learning about language, French cooking, and the good life in France. You can subscribe to her weekly blog, with a recipe, at Southern Fried French


golden retriever dogs jumping france
Mama Braise (left) and Son Smokey engaged in some ears-flapping fun.

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Pat Cargill

Mercis, Lynn, for your guest post today. The pie sounds and looks absolutely delicious and I believe ("avec tout ma coeur"!) it would bring me a year's full of good luck, too. I resolutely resolve not to make any calorie-related New Year's resolutions today.

K, the picture of flapping-ears dogs is wonderful. We have brought Maxine (min. schnauzer) w/us to the Carriage House Inn where we are making merry for the year's final eve. Check out Innkkeeppeer Jeannie's website www.carriagehousewv.com. I offer yoga getaways here, so doing yoga this year is a fine resolution...just don't make me give up my sweets! Bonne annee to all. Bountiful blessings in the new year.


YUM! The filling is very similar to Bavarian Cream. Definitely going to try it. Thanks. Happy New Year! Mary

R Suren

If Michelle Obama is an American Pie ( plump & indulgent ) then Jackie Kennedy was a French Tart (shallow with straight, fluted sides, thin and refined, understated and elegant). I love French patisserie.

Larry R

Rupert: Michelle Obama is anything but plump and indulgent -- these American and French Stereotypes get oh so tiring. Let's all resolve in the New Year to pause before we indulge in these cliches :)

Linda R.

Merci, Lynne et Nicole pour ces deux recettes formidables! Bonne année, tout le monde!

Linda R.

p.s. Pat, what a good idea to resolve not to make any calorie-related New Year's resolutions today. : )


Thank you for a great recipe that I must try and thank you for giving Kristin some time off at the holidays! My great culinary achievement this fall was a perfect, if I do say so myself, Tarte Tatin. two photos with French titles at http://gallery.me.com/gary.mcclelland#100223

un joyeux fête la Saint-Sylvestre pour tous

Suzanne Dennis, Monroe Township, NJ

Merci Lynne and Kristin for this fabulous recipe. I will try it out in the New Year! Like Lynne, we have black eyed peas on New Year's Day for bonne chance! For New Year's Eve it is grilled polenta with duck confit sausages ... and champagne with hibiscus flowers.

Happy New Year to the Espinasse Family and all of Kristin's and Jean-Marc's readers.

Julie F

Merci, Lynne, for filling in today. But there goes my New Year's resolution to eat healthier. Broken even before Jan. 1. This year I won't even have my small dose of hamhocks and black-eyed peas for luck because I'm not in Georgia with my in-laws. However, since my husband is down south he'll eat enough to bring us both luck. I like your idea better, though, of choosing your own lucky dish.

Bonne année to Lynne and the Espinasse family. See you all next year!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Thanks Lynn for the interesting article. My wife and I both read your blog regularly. We look forward to your recipes and the excellent photos.

Bonne année à tous!


À Larry R. Je suis d'accord avec vous. Vous avez donné une excellente recette pour la vie. C'est la meilleure manière de faire cuire.

Joan Linneman

"Hoppin' John" or Grand Marnier pie.... Let me think.... I guess I'll go with the pie (It took me .0005 secs to make up my mind! :)
Joan L.
Bonne annee a tout le monde!

Jules Greer

Oh what a great day it is - the last day of 2010. I am so happy today, I can feel the excitement of the New Year just a breath away. I have been out 'walkin my dog' on the malecon of our Marina here in Puerto Vallarta - I see a few tourists are here to enjoy the weather, the fishing, all the exciting music and fireworks tonight in the Bay of Bandaras. Lynn, I can't get your wonderful image of those rasberry tartes out of my mind. What a great post today. I love your life and I love your blog.

Happy New Year all of you Frenchie-files - I told Kristi to pretend she was a 20 year old when she went away with Jean-Marc this weekend. Mom's always give the best advice.



Patricia Flournoy

As always...a winning recipe...HAPPY NEW YEAR...Patty Flournoy


...(hands over ears..)....lalalala..My kids are on either side of twenty and one has gone to Tasmania to a music festival for several days with eight friends and the other has gone into town with six beautiful girls I think he is protecting for the night....all, I suspect, are acting like twenty year olds!.... Lalalalala ( hands over ears..)
Hope Kristin and Jean-Marc have a wonderful fun weekend!

Happy New Year everyone!

PS I'm packing my bags to go to do a yoga retreat with Pat...sounds great!


Lynne, love your recipes and I enjoy your blog! Thank you for being great guest writer!

Lynn at Southern Fried French

Merci to everyone for the good new year wishes, and especially to Kristin and Jean-Marc and family. Doing the guest blog was great fun. Pat, I love that resolution not to make annoying resolutions, I'm going to steal that one. Gary, that's THE most beautiful tarte tatin I've ever seen, I'll be right over. Rupert, Jackie O is indeed like an elegant French femme--that made me smile. Bonne annee to all!

Alicia D.

Bonne Anneè et meilleurs voeux !! Merci pour chaque mot chaque jour!


I agree with Lynn about the photographs of Gary's Tarte Tatin. If you want to start your new year with a variation of that apple favorite, try Tomato Tarte Tatin - it will surprise you ... very pleasantly.


Bonne Année à tous!

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