Our new signature dessert is about chocolate and “espuma”, along with a carrousel of other flavors and textures that I subtly weaved in and change with the seasons. Our most current version is made with apricots and cinnamon basil. It looks like this :
One additional flavor stands out this month : the “pain d’épices”. A loose English translation would be gingerbread, a literal one would be spiced bread. It is a cake or a bread made with honey and different spices like cinnamon, cardamom, anise, cloves, ginger, etc. The variety of interpretations of what it is pertains to its multiple origins. Some say it comes from China, where a similar bread, called Mi-Kong, was baked during the Middle Ages. A similar recipe is also found in Egypt, Greece, Germany (called lebkuchen), and later in France – Dijon, and Reims. And of course each place uses its own spices and types of flour. That leaves us with endless possibilities to explore which version will be our personal favorite.
I mainly remember pain d’épices as a treat that I would get at my grand-parent’s home and that – surprisingly – I did not always enjoy. To my defense, this kind of “bread” could easily be too dry or not sweet enough to a child’s taste. But mixed used as an accent and mixed with other flavors and textures, its own becomes much more interesting.
I would like to share my home recipe of the pain d’épices:
You will need :
300g of honey (I like to use clover honey)
100g of butter
50g almond meal
10g baking powder
1/2 of a teaspoon of each one of these spices : powdered ginger, cinnamon, green anise, nutmeg
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 335 F. Butter a deep loaf pan.
Place the butter and honey in a bowl then melt them in the microwave (until butter is completely melted, but not boiling).
Sift the flour, then mix in the other dry ingredients.
Add the melted butter and honey, then add the eggs and mix until you obtain a homogenous batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the oven, first for 10 minutes at 325, then for approximately 30 minutes at 305.