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!