Literally, a spice bread usually served to French children after school as a snack, either plain or with unsalted butter and sometimes jam as well. I used to love it when I was a kid. It was store bought and I never knew anyone making their own, but because I can’t find it to buy here in Canada, I tried a few combinations, did a lot of reading and decided that the recipe below is closest to my childhood memory. Traditionnally, pain d’épices does not include ginger and although many North American or British recipes do, I stuck to the original ingredients.
- 400 gr honey ( any kind will do, the original appears to have been dark buckwheat honey) = 1 cup
- 2 tbsp fancy molasses
- 1/8 cup salted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 cups flour ( 1 rye, 1 buckwheat, 1 + 1/2 white)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp ground anise seeds or 1 tsp Pernod
- Zest of half a lemon
- Zest of half an orange
- 2 eggs beaten
- 4 tsp baking powder
Melt the honey, sugar, butter, molasses in the water.Cool down. Add this to all the other ingredients and mix well. (I wish I had an electric mixing bowl for this, but then I would have to go the gym for strength training, better the kitchen). You might have to add a little bit of extra water. When the mix is smooth, pour into a bread loaf mold lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake 70 minutes at 350 or until your knife comes out clean.
Saves well wrapped in a plastic bag. Slice like a thin toast, butter!
Stale pain d’épices is great to make bread pudding on its own or mixed with other bread. Not that we are ever going to have stale pain d’épices leftover!