Pain d'epices or literally Spice bread is a cakey quick bread from France and is also known aas French Gingerbread or Honey spice cake. The traditional spice bread is made using rye flour ,honey and spices like aniseed. But modern spice bread makes use of ginger. The bread which was based on the fermentation of rye flour in buckwheat honey traditionally used no leavening agent,but modern day bakers use soda or baking powder which makes it rise quickly.
I found an excellent recipe for this in Vegetarian times which was egg free and dairy free and used tea for making the bread.I have made coffee cookies but this is my first with tea.I halved the recipe and baked it in my mini loaf pan to get hearty and spicy quickbread.
All Purpose Flour: 14 tbsp
Baking Soda : 3/4 tsp
Salt: 1/8 tsp
Orange Zest: 2 tsp
Cinnamon Powdered: 3/4 tsp
Cloves powdered: 1/8 tsp
Ginger Powdered: 3/4 tsp
Black Tea: 2/3 cup or 10 tbsp
(Black Tea bag: 1 seeped in 10 tbsp boiling water for 3 minutes)
Brown Sugar: 2 tbsp
Honey: 1/3 tbsp
Dried Figs: 1/4 cup chopped
Almonds: 1/4 cup toasted and chopped
In a bowl,mix together flour,soda,salt,zest and the spices.I didn't add the zest er,..I umm,forgot.
In another bowl,mix together sugar and honey.Make tea as you normally do. Else in a big bowl,add 1 tea bag and pour hot boiling water (10 tbsp) and let it sit for about 3 minutes after which remove the teabag.
Pour the hot hea into the sugar-honey mix and stir well so that the sugar dissolves.
Make a well in the middle of the dry mix and pour the wet tea-sugar-honey mix.Stir to combine. Fold in the toasted and chopped nuts and chopped figs.
Pour the batter in lightly greased muffin pans or mini loaf pan. I used my 5 x3 mini loaf pan.Depending on size you may require 1 or 2 muffin or mini loaf pan.
Cool in the loaf/muffin pan for 5 minutes after which loosen the edges and remove from the pans and cool completely on the wire rack.
Serve cutting into slices as a snack with tea/coffee/milk or with icecream as an after dinner dessert.
Excellent ginger bread and perfectly vegan as well.It was the ginger aroma that permeated during baking. I thought tea aroma may also be there,but it was nil or negligible.No wonder it is called French gingerbread. Ginger- sugar- honey combo dominates the taste.
The slices were not light but slightly heavy or atleast I felt so. And no butter,oil,milk or even soy. You can play around and add different types of nuts,varieties of honey,tutty fruity or candied citrus peels etc.You can even use the normal masala chai and avoid or add more spices for variation.For another or traditional pain d'epice ,check out David Lebovitz and Jacques Thorel .
Perfect treat this bread as it goes to Bakeomania at Cakes n' More where a perfect Cake Bible will be given away to a lucky winner.Wish I am the lucky one.Keeping fingers Crossed.
The bread is simple to make with easy steps and is perfect for amateur bakers. So it also spices the Baking for Beginners - II at CookingUpSomethingNice.