Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Le Pain d'épices

When I am on a diet, I can go for days without eating chocolate, for weeks without eating pasta and for months without buying ice cream. But there are two things that I can't spend a single day without: My breakfast; which I take with cereals or tartines and a bowl of milk, and my afternoon snack; with a slice of cake or cookies and a cup of mint tea or milk. I was raised that way. My mother always told us that a nourishing and well balanced breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But for the afternoon snack, it's a different story. It is more like a family ritual than a biological need to fuel my body. As far as I can remember, we always had tea or coffee with some kind of pastry after coming back from school. We usually wait until everyone gets home to gather around a hot mint tea and some fresh baked sweets. If for some reason one day, there was no tea and no sweets on the table, we would feel lost. My mother and I share the same feeling about this particular meal: I think it is more about the family getting together than the snack itself.
When I think about those baked sweets, four of them come to my mind: Beignets, Yoghurt Cake, Torno (kind of sablé with icing on top) and Pain d'épices...Ahh Pain d'épices, the whole house smells like the Islands when my mother makes this fragrant cake. Pain d'épices, which translates "bread of spices" is a french cake whose ingredients contain honey and many spices.
I made this cake many times but had never been satisfied with the result. It was too dry, not fragrant enough... in a word nothing like how Pain d'épice should be. Last week, while browsing my friend's blog, I came across a recent post she had about pain d'épices; or what was supposed to be Nonette (like Pain d'épices but with an orange marmalade filling) turned into a mini-Pain d'épices. Just looking at the picture made my mouth water. I was sold, I had to try the recipe. I took a bet with Lili that I will be able to make the marmalade slip into the dough to become a filling like Nonette are supposed to be. Infortunatly, I lost my bet but I had the pain d'épices of my childhood in my kitchen and it was so worth the loss. I even told my mother about it. She was happy that I won't have to ask her every time:"how come I can't have the same result as yours" and every time she tells me:"c'est l'experience ma fille!" (it's the experience my daughter!).

-5.82 oz all purpose unbleached flour
-1.60 oz light brown sugar
-2 oz honey (you can go until 4 oz)
-1/2 cup fresh orange juice
-3 tbsp butter
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 star anise
-1/4 cinnamon stick
-1 tbsp candied orange rinds roughly chopped
-1/2 tsp ground cardamom
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-Pinch of ground cloves
-Pinch of salt
-Orange marmalade or jelly (1/2 tsp for each baking cup)

In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking soda, salt and the ground spices. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the butter with the orange juice, the cinnamon stick, the star anise and the orange rinds. Once the butter melts and the liquid reaches a boiling stage, remove the saucepan from the stove, discard the cinnamon stick and star anise and pour the liquid over the dry ingredients while whisking vigorously, until all gets blended. Let it cool a little bit, then spoon the batter into mini-muffin cups or standard muffin cups. Top each cup with the orange marmalade and press gently. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 12-14 min in mini-muffin cups and for 15-18 min in a standard muffin cups. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container and serve until the following day. Your patience will be rewarded.

In francais please:
Pour la recette en francais , cette fois-ci je vous invite a visiter le blog de Lili pour une explication tout en détails de la recette. Les seuls changements que j'y ai apporté sont: l'utilisation de pelures d'oranges confites que j'avais coupé en dès et non pas râpé, et puis j'ai préparé mon propre mélange d'épices pour le pain d'épices, vu que je ne l 'ai pas trouvé ici. Je vous conseille de consommer le pain d'épices le lendemain de sa cuisson pour avoir un goût authentique et bien parfumé.


Anonymous said...

Breakfast is the best way to start the day...your mom was right! Probably about more than just breakfast.... :)

LILIBOX said...

OOOOO hhh !!!
Bô !
je n'arrive pas à trouver en France les memes papier à gateaux (snif)

j'ai utilisé de la poudre d'écorces d'oranges séchées (assez difficile à trouver )

Warda said...

-I know what you mean Sandi, my mom is all about taking care of her family and making them happy. She is my biggest inspiration.
-Merci beaucoup Lili, et je le dois en grande partie a toi.Pour les baking cups, si je pouvais te les faire parvenir tout de suite je le ferai.

LILIBOX said...

Merci beaucoup pour cette proposition !
peux tu me mettre en commentaire dans la box à lettres ton email que je ne publierai pas bien sur , afin que cela soit plus pratique pour papoter ...
Merci par avance
Ps : la terrine d'agneau : mon mari pensait que je l'avais acheté !LOL

Anonymous said...

These look lovely, really delicious. I also can't do without my afternoon snack. It's such a refreshing ritual, it leaves me feeling recharged and ready to finis the day. I love nibbling on a cookie or muffin or piece of cake with a hot cup of good tea. Now you have me thinking about the afternoon and it's only 8:45am!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Brilynn said...

I always need a sweet in the afternoon too, not because I'm hungry, just because it's ingrained. Those pain d'epices look delicious!

Gattina Cheung said...

I love anise and all the spices in this cake! Look very moist, I can't wait to try!
Food for me, nourish my body, and nourish my soul! My life will be short if without these sweet :D

Truffle said...

Oh these looks so beautiful. I can almost taste them!

Warda said...

Thanks Ari,I agree,nothing can beat a cup of tea with something sweet for a snack.
Thanks for your nice message Brilynn. We share the same addiction for afternoon snack.
Gattina, Thanks for stopping by, Anise is one of my favorite spices too. Let me know how it goes when you try it.
Thank you very much Truffle. You are sweet.

Helene said...

Il y a une chose qui me manque de la France et c'est bien le pain d'epices! Merci d'avoir mis cette recette sut ton site!

Anonymous said...

They look GORGEOUS! So beautiful and so delicous! The perfect breakfast! Thank you for your contribution to Muffin Monday!

Anonymous said...

I look your pain d'épice, I love very very pain d'epices. It's so beautiful.

sooishi said...

cette recette a l'air sublime!
Tous ces parfums...ça laisse rêveur...

Gattina Cheung said...

guess what? I made the cakes! Oh my, they are delicious, frangrant and moist! The hardest part... you bet... wait until next day to eat :P How could I do it? I confess, I "stole" one to eat last night.
Only one more note, I had to add one egg otherwise the batter looked a bit dry to me.
Thanks Rose for this great recipe *kiss*

Warda said...

- Je suis contente Helene que cette recette, si chere a ton coeur te plaise.
- Thanks to you elena, it was my pleasure.
- Merci Pom d'api.
- Merci beaucoup ooishigal, il est vrai que ces epices sont envoutants.
- Gattina, I am very happy to hear that. It is true that the batter feels dry, it was the same for me.

Hélène (Cannes) said...

Ils sont absolument superbe..; et si tu n'étais pas si loin, je viendrais bien partager un afternoon snack devant une bonne tasse de thé !
bon week end de Pâques

Warda said...

Merci beaucoup Helene. Tu es la bienvenue anytime. Bon weekend de paques a toi aussi.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Rose, this is fantastic!

The other day I saw a TV show on Discovery Travel and Living and the host was in Dijon. Then she went to a woman's house and this woman made a pain d'épices with her daughter (the sweet girl seemed to be 10 or something). I loved it but they didn't give the amounts of ingredients.

Now I found it here!! Tks for sharing!!!

Your photos are wonderful!

Warda said...

- You are so welcome Patricia

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Rose this looks divine!
...c'est l'experience ma fille!" (it's the experience my daughter!) that is so much love!

Lamia said...

Aurais tu une dresse aux USA pour trouver les petits moules dont tu`es servie pour la recette.
Jaimerai en acheter mais jene saispas ou lon en trouve.

Warda said...

- Lamia, tu peux en trouver a GFS, tu connais? c une chaine de magasins qui vend les articles alimentaires en gros. Ils ont ces moules en grandes quantites et pour petit prix, ce qui est toujours bien ;)

DMZLucka said...

I have used this recipe many times and I just reposted it in my blog: http://fresnosfabulous52.blogspot.com/2012/02/lemon-curd-week-8-week-of-lemon.html Very good!! Thanks you.