My home smells so much like Christmas right now! I've been nonstop cooking and baking these days to have all these festive sweet recipes ready for you before the official family suppers begin and we are all too busy eating our body weight in all kind of decadent foods.
This pain d' épices is a classic french recipe, it literally means 'spice bread' though it's more like a loaf. So super spiced and delicious! Traditionally made around Christmas time in France (and other countries like Germany and, I believe, in some parts of the UK too) this loaf cake is entirely sweetened with honey so it gives a nice darker color and a more dense texture than other baked goods. I made a vegan version (though it's super tasty with honey too!) and added more spices to give a little twist to the original recipe.
I've read that the most traditional pain d' épices recipe must contain only four different spices, it's what the french call the 'quatre épices' blend and usually has cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. I personally think that in this particular recipe the more spiced your loaf is, the more delicious it will come out...and we all know that spiced sweets are the perfect treats for the xmas holidays!
It's an easy recipe, you won't even need to use your stand mixer: just a couple of bowls, your trusty wire whisk and a spatula. Also you can combine different flours like spelt, rye or even a gluten free version.
I hope you like it!
PS: Santa came a bit earlier this year for me and I got a super awesome Lagrange waffle maker. I can finally make true belgian-style waffles thanks to my wonderful sister...whom is already asking me to turn off the laptop and make her a big fluffy waffle. ;-)
Receta en español muy pronto en la web de El Granero Integral.
(6 to 8 servings)
150 g/1 cup all-purpose flour.
100 g/ 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour.
150 ml/ 2/3 cups soy milk (or your vegan milk of choice).
70 g/ 1/4 cup agave syrup.
30 g/ 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp molasses.
85 ml/ 1/3 cup mild-tasting olive oil.
16 g/ 3tsp baking powder.
A pinch of salt.
30 g/ 1 oz dried figs.
30 g/ 1 oz dried apricots.
20 g/ 0.7 oz pitted dates.
80 g/ 2.8 oz walnuts.
- For the spices mix:
1 tsp ground ginger.
1 tsp ground cinnamon.
3/4 tsp green anise (or ground star anise).
1/2 tsp allspice.
1/2 tsp ground cardamom.
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.
Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and set aside. One tip: when it comes to allspice and cardamom I prefer to buy the whole version and grind them at home to add a super fresh and more complete aroma to the batter.
Preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF). Lightly grease a loaf pan with nontstick cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper for easier unmolding.
Chop the figs, apricots, dates and walnuts into small pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl using a wire whisk vigoursly mix the milk, agave, molasses and oil.
In a separate large mixing bowl sift in the flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir together all ingredients to ensure they are well combined.
Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients mixture and mix with a silicone spatula until well incorporated and no flour lumps are visible.
Finally fold in the chopped fruits and walnuts, pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes approximately, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Let it cool in the pan on a wire whisk and then carefully remove from the pan and cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.