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chance

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
Garnish:  
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)

Crust
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

Filling
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.

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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
 (www.southernfriedfrench.com).
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DSC_0009
Mama Braise (left) and Son Smokey engaged in some ears-flapping fun.

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