One last promise to keep

Pain d'epice / Honey spice loaf

In the post about my trip to Alsace I promised to write about the chestnut honey from the local market. So, while the sparkling whine cools in the fridge and the last hours of the year go by, I'll do a quick write-up to keep that promise. In the fall I read the Chocolate and Zucchini Cookbook
from Clotilde Dusoulier (who has a blog of the same name, as you are probably aware). The book ended up with quite a number of Post-it stickers, marking interesting recipes which I want to try sometime. (most of the stickers gathered in the rear section of the book, which deals with sweets and desserts). Among them was a "pain d'epice" or Honey Spice Loaf. The recipe uses a good
amount of honey and also "quatre epice" or four spices, a mixture of ground cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. I used half a teaspoon more quatre epice as required by the recipe (since this is the only recipe I know for quatre epice, why be stingy?) but this wasn't a good idea. The loaf leaves a peppery, slightly hot aftertaste on your tongue, which I would try to avoid or at least tone down at the next try. I took the cake to some friends for coffee, but their reception was a bit lukewarm. They thought the cake was nicely done texture-wise, but sweet cakes were much preferable to spicy ones. Well, you can't please everyone all the time. I will definitely make this cake again, but as it is very filling probably only as a half-batch.

Pain d'epice / Honey Spice Loaf

Source: Chocolate and Zucchini Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier, page 175


- 2 tsp. vegetable oil (to grease the pan)
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2/3 cup honey (grease the measuring cup with oil, the honey will flow out easily)
- 1/3 cup mild flavoured, dark molasses (use the same trick as for the honey)
- 1 cup all-pupose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 2 tsp. French four-spice mix (or 1/2 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger)


1) Preheat oven to 350 F/ ~ 170°C. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with oil and line bottom with parchment paper.

2) Combine milk, honey and molasses in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat, stir until dissolved without boiling. Set aside to cool.

3) Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center and slowly pour in the milk mixture. Whisk until all the flour has been incorporated. The batter will be thin. Pour batter in loaf pan and bake for 40- 50 min, until brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

4) Set on a wire rack to ool for 20 min. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and unmould. Let cool completely. Wrap in foil and let rest at room temperature until the next day.

And now on to the party and a Happy New Year to everyone who's reading this.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

This sounds like a truly delicious quickbread for the holiday season or any other time! Love the depth of molasses in it.