Traditional Pain d’épices is a French classic honey gingerbread recipe popular around the Holidays, in Alsace. Because traditional pain d’épices is sweetened entirely with honey, honey merchants in France often stock loaves of it for sale. La Collective des Biscuits et Gâteaux de France reserves the name pain d’épices pur miel (French for ‘”pure honey spice bread”‘) for pain d’épices sweetened only with honey.*Source: Wikipedia
This honey gingerbead is often given away as gift and a very popular item on the Christmas table. The rye and honey combination ensures a long shelf life. The bread will get chewier and tastier as the days pass. It is great toasted too, with marmalade or churned butter.
Since this is a traditional recipe from the Old Country, we can safely assume it was originally made in wood fired oven or kitchen hearth so baking it in your Forno Venetzia makes it that much more authentic.
Yield Two loafs
A step-by-step video of this recipe can be found below.
Traditonal Pain d'Épices (Honey Gingerbread)
- 220 g Whole rye flour 1 1/3 cup
- 220 g All purpose flour 1 1/3 cup
- 2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 Tbsp Anise seeds, ground
- 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/4 tsp ginger, ground
- 500 ml honey 2 cups
- 250 ml milk 1 cup
- 1 Tbps orange zests
- zests from one lemon
- 3 egg yolks
- 10 almonds, whole
- Start your Forno Venetzia oven at least an hour prior to bake time, build a strong fire, then let it cool down to about 350F - 375F. The sole should be no hotter than 400F (we recommend a laser thermometer to check the sole temperature). Keep the fire in one corner of your oven.
- Combine flours, baking soda and spices in a large bowl
- In a small casserole, warm up milk and honey together and simmer for a few minutes. Add orange and lemon zests, remove from the heat and let sit for a minute.
- Temper your egg yolks with the warm milk (see the video), then add all the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine shortly.
- Butter two bread loaf pans, line with parchment paper, and divide the batter between the two pans. Add the almonds in a star pattern in the middle of each pan, on top of you batter.
- Put your two pans in the wood fired oven, not too close to fire or wall. Check after about 10 minutes if the top is grilling too fast, if so, cover with aluminum foil for the balance of the cook. Rotate and switch pans in hearth every 10 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the middle of your gingerbreads to verify doneness.