Pain d’épices

Pain d’épices

How to Cook Bread
1 large loaf
Peter Cassidy

Pain d’épices is traditionally served thinly sliced with pâté de foie gras, but it is equally good served with soft cheese, such as fresh young goat’s cheese. Alternatively, you can simply eat it buttered, with a cup of tea. You will need a 900g–1kg loaf tin.


Quantity Ingredient
40g unsalted butter
160ml whole milk
275g runny honey
2 eggs
60g caster sugar
1/4 orange, finely grated zest
1/4 lemon, finely grated zest
275g plain flour
60g dark rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt
60g medium oatmeal
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Use a little of the butter to grease the tin, then put the remainder in a medium saucepan with the milk and honey. Place over a low heat and stir to melt the honey into the liquid; don’t allow the milk to boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug to cool.
  2. Break the eggs into a medium bowl and add the sugar and citrus zests. Using an electric whisk, beat together until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. It should be thick enough to leave a ribbon over the surface that holds for 5–6 seconds when the whisk is lifted and some of the mixture falls from it.
  3. Sift both flours, the baking powder, ground spices and salt together in a separate bowl. Mix in the oatmeal and anise seeds and make a well in the centre.
  4. Spoon the egg mixture into the well and pour in about half of the cooled milk mixture. Use a cutlery knife to distribute the liquid evenly and bring the ingredients together. Add the remaining milk in several additions, stirring well between each addition, until all of the liquid has been incorporated and the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  5. Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the top third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. (You may need to put the loaf on a lower shelf about halfway through cooking if it becomes too dark.)
  6. Remove the cooked loaf from the oven and leave it in the tin for about 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
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