SATURDAY COOKING: PAIN D’EPICES (SPICED BREAD)

 

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A very French recipe, a specialty in Burgundy called “PAIN D’EPICES“,  or SPICED BREAD.
This recipe is from Serge Dansereau’s cookbook “French Kitchen, classic recipes for home cooks”.
“This is a very versatile bread that is perfect to eat with chicken or duck liver pâté, smoked fish or oysters. It is best toasted until crisp so the flavours really shine.”
The only requirement for this recipe is to have an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.

150ml full-cream milk
250g honey
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3 free-range eggs
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
125g (1 ¼ cups) rye flour
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a 25× 12× 10cm loaf tin with oil spray and line with baking paper.
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan with the honey, orange and lemon zests and vanilla bean paste until just heated through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and process on high speed for about 15 minutes, or until you have a sabayon – a creamy mixture that has doubled in size. Add the warm milk and mix at low speed to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flours, baking powder and spices, then gently fold through the egg mixture until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes. Check to ensure the centre is cooked by testing with a wooden skewer – if it comes out clean the bread is done. If it is still wet, cook for a further 5 minutes. If the bread browns too quickly on top, cover with a sheet of baking paper. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. When the loaf has cooled, it can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  6. Eat!

-Because I was not sure how much the bread was going to rise, I used 2 loaf tins. I could have used my glass loaf tin 13.5×23×7cm and gotten a taller loaf. The bread rose nicely, and the final consistency is a bit “spongy” to the touch when it comes out of the oven.
-I didn’t have vanilla bean paste, so I used a vanilla bean, split in 2 and the seeds scraped out. It seems quite a bit of vanilla otherwise, French pain d’épices has got more the flavours of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg than vanilla.
-I also weighed the ingredients rather than use the cups measurements.
-Make sure you use nice oranges, preferably non-sprayed, because the zest can be very bitter and it will completely spoil the end result.
-I kept the bread in a plastic container, wrapped in alfoil, for 2 weeks. And I didn’t toast, it was fine like this.
-I ate it with butter. And a piece of chocolate…
This bread is very nice, really true to my memory of what a pain d’épices really tastes like.

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