Here is the best pain d’épices recipe by French chef Philippe Conticini. French pain d’épices often get mistranslated into English as “gingerbread”, but the two cakes bear little resemblance to one another. Indeed, while the flavor of American gingerbread is dominated by molasses and the eponymous ginger, pain d’épices features rye flour, anise seed, and honey.
There are as many variations of the recipe for pain d’épices as there are regions in France. But traditionally the French pain d’épices is made with honey, rye, or wheat flour (depending on the region) and spices such as cardamom, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is usually baked into a loaf and served with savory dishes. On the Holidays, the pain d’épices is served with foie gras or with gourmet cheeses like brie or camembert. However, it is also often incorporated into or served alongside classic French desserts.
In order to bake the perfect French pain d’épices, here are a few tips:
- As honey’s aroma will dominate the taste of the bread, choose the variety of honey carefully.
- Make sure to keep an eye on the baking time as if over-baked, the pain d’épices will be dry.
- Prefer to use freshly ground spices instead of pre-ground. Indeed, freshly ground spices are so much more fragrant and keep their flavor better even after being baked.
- Finally, in order to make the pain d’épices look brighter, you can cover it with syrup on top, such as an orange glaze.
Here is below one of my favorite pain d’épices recipes by the French chef Philippe Conticini. This recipe is super easy and very quick to make. There are no special ingredients or appliances necessary, no need to wait for the dough to rise, and requires no kneading. I hope you’ll enjoy this easy and very tasteful recipe!
The Pain d’Épices Recipe By Philippe Conticini
- 135 g milk reduced fat
- 1 clove
- 30 g sliced almonds
- 90 g butter
- 80 g vergeoise sugar*
- 110 g liquid honey
- 2 eggs
- 105 g wheat flour T45
- 60 g buckwheat flour
- 1 g sea salt
- 3 g baking soda
- 20 g orange zest
- 20 g lemon zest
- 20 g sliced candied ginger
- 2 g cinnamon
- 1 g licorice powder
- 1 pinch of powdered cloves
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/338°F (thermostat 6). Bring the milk to a boil. Add the cloves, then let them infuse off the heat for 5 minutes before removing them. Toast the flaked almonds in a pan without fat.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter, vergeoise sugar, and honey over low heat. When everything has cooled down, add the beaten eggs, then mix.
- Mix the flours, salt, baking soda, orange and lemon zest, ginger strips, and spices in a bowl. Incorporate these powders into the previous mixture. Add the toasted flaked almonds, then the milk.
- Butter and flour a cake pan and pour in the dough to two thirds. Leave to rest for 10 minutes in the refrigerator, then bake the pain d'épices in the oven at 170°C/338°F for approximately 35 minutes depending on your oven.
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