Pain D'Epice: Alsatian Spice Bread

I love honey cake and I love spice cake, and I love Paris.

What do the first 2 loves have to do with the third love?

Pain D'epice = French spice bread, offered all over Paris and Alsace. Every boulangerie seems to have a different recipe.
You can buy a loaf, or buy a square, either way, it is sort of like a spice bread or gingerbread, not too sweet and wonderful in the a.m. for breakfast with coffee.

I bought a huge chunk of it in Paris last week, because it stays fresh all week, so we could have some with our coffee each morning.

I found a few recipes for Pain d'Epice that I liked, all with different amounts of honey, some had butter, some did not. Each recipe used a different combination of spices. I incorporated the best of all of them to make my own!

I made Flo Braker's basic recipe and did half orange preserves and half honey (she said I could!), and instead of orange zest, I took Anne Willan's idea of using 1 tbsp of candied orange peel. The results were sensational.

It made my kitchen smell heavenly. All the spices, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger were intoxicating.

Flo Braker's Pain D'epice: (adapted from David Lebovitz's site)

3 1/2 cups (455g) flour
1/2 cup (60g) 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)
2 ounces (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (340g) honey
1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest
1 cup (240ml) water

1. Preheat the oven to 350º (180ºC). Butter a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan, dust it with flour, then tap out any excess.

2. Sift together the flour, rye flour, baking soda, the ground spices and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle in the anise seeds.

3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, mix together the butter, egg, honey (or honey and jam), and orange zest.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Cool 10 minutes, then tip the cake out of the loaf pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

Storage: Pain d'épices can be wrapped in plastic and stored for at least a week, during which time the flavors will meld and it'll get denser.
This is not a cake, but more of a bread, best served with a swipe of sweet butter!

I look forward to waking up in the a.m. for a slice of this!


kat said…
Oh, that does sound like an amazing breakfast bread & really fallish too
Foodiewife said…
I can already smell the aromas. You can daydream about breakfast on your beautiful balcony in Paris. I love honey, so I know I would love this.
Karen said…
Mmm, I'm thinking some orange marmalade would be perfect with a toasted slice of this bread!
The JR said…
I'm not sure I like rye flour. I tried rye bread (it's been a while) and didn't like it. But, it that was made from wheat flour (I know, big difference) I know I would like it.

The Food Hunter said…
What a great thing to wake up to.
What a perfect breakfast, it looks so nice and crusty!!!!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Can you drive down to Princeton this afternoon with a slice of this? It would be perfect with my afternoon tea.
lisa is cooking said…
I love this kind of quick bread that keeps well for several days. The spices and orange preserves sound great!
Arunah said…
It's even better, slightly toasted with salted butter and of course orange marmalade or apple compote are also an option...
Oh that sounds and looks lovely, especially for a crisp fall morning...just something about fall and spices, you know?

Btw will you be participating in the O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Contest again this year? You have until Sept 28th to come up with a fab O recipe...and there are prizes :D

Even if you can't participate, please feel free to spread the word (prize for that too!) :D
Anonymous said…
Looks wonderful. The spices sound intoxicating :)
Jonny said…
i know its commonplace on the american breakfast table to put sweet with savory (pancakes, syrup and bacon) but it still fills me with dread, even after five years of watching my in-laws do it. I much prefer the European approach to breakfast with its focus more strictly on sweet, carbohydrate-based things and coffee, so I'm an enormous fan of pain d'epices. Not to mention that it always reminds me of the classic British christmas cake and pudding "sweetmeats" of citrus peel and spices. i'm no baker and this is definitely something i would bake. bookmarked for fall.
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