22 February, 2007

Pain d’épices

The French equivalent of gingerbread or parkin. Nice on its own, with goat’s cheese and honey, or as an ingredient of tiramisu

You can vary the basic recipe by adding chopped candied orange peel, crystallized ginger, or even chocolate chips.

100 g honey
140 g wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
10 cl milk
1 egg
40 g butter
65 g soft brown sugar
1 tsp quatre-épices (4-spice powder, usually made of pepper, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon — you could substitute ginger for the cloves)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Warm the milk and add the honey, sugar and butter off the heat, stirring well. Put the flour, baking powder and 4-épices in a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, break the egg into it, and add the milk. Mix well (or just throw the whole lot into a food processor).

Pour into a buttered 23-cm loaf tin and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 150C and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Store wrapped in clingfilm to keep it moist.

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