If you're reading my blog for a while now, you know I'm a fan of all things French - French wine, French cuisine, French movies & music, French language. I'm also a keen reader of David Lebovitz's blog and when I came across this recipe I had to give it a go. You could probably say it is a kind of a gingerbread, but I found it is not as spicy as a gingerbread and slightly dryer (that's a result of using different kind of flour, not a plain one, which would normally go into a gingerbread cake). The taste definitely improved within time and the cake/bread(?) kept well for over a week! I hope you'll give it a go and will pop over to David's website too - it's very well written, with beautiful photos, great recipes, some interesting stories and it's quite "inspiring" when it comes to cooking and baking.
"Pain d'épices or pain d'épice (French for: "spice bread", sometimes loosely translated as "gingerbread") is a French cake or quick bread whose ingredients, according to Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise (1694), are "rye flour, honey and spices", today including aniseed but not traditionally ginger. In Alsace, a considerable tradition incorporates a pinch of cinnamon." - by wikipedia.org
How to make it...
Ingredients:- 455 g flour
- 60 g dark rye flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (whole)
- 55 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 340 g honey
- 1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest
- 240 ml water
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Butter a 23 cm loaf pan, dust it with flour, then tap out any excess. Sift together the flour, rye flour, baking soda, the ground spices and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle in the anise seeds. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, mix together the butter, egg, honey (or honey and jam), and orange zest. Add the water, then add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed in evenly. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will bake to a somewhat dark color, which is normal. Cool 10 minutes, then tip the cake out of the loaf pan. Let cool completely before slicing.
Pain d’épices can be wrapped in beeswax wrap and stored for at least a week, during which time the flavors will meld and it’ll get denser. It can also be frozen for a few months.