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LoneSavant

Pain D'Epices

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I'm working on a batch of Pain D'Epices, and have recently come across some new ideas/information regarding TRADITIONAL recipes, of which I was curious if any of you had opinions/experience.

Several articles talk about resting the batter- some overnight (gluten-relaxation, basically), but some as long as two weeks, causing mild fermentation. Any thoughts? Have any of you tried the slightly fermented style? I use an old-world rye flour & anise recipe, for the record...

Many recipes use brown sugar, all use honey, but i've come across a few that use burnt sugar- - -will this change the structure too much due to the lack of glucose from a honey-substitution?

Any other fun tips/tricks/stories regarding your traditional Pain D'epices?


Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

"life is a combination of magic and pasta"

-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

-J. Child

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From memory I believe that some of the older recipes use Buckwheat honey. This is a very dark and strongly flavored honey, which one friend of mine described as "pure testosterone". Buckwheat honey is had to get and expensive, so maybe some other strong flavoured, slightly bitter honey (Chestnut?) would be a good substitute?

It also has an interesting texture, similar to heather honey in that it is almost gel like (fixatropic). Not sure what this would do to the cooking process.

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From memory I believe that some of the older recipes use Buckwheat honey. This is a very dark and strongly flavored honey, which one friend of mine described as "pure testosterone". Buckwheat honey is had to get and expensive, so maybe some other strong flavoured, slightly bitter honey (Chestnut?) would be a good substitute?

It also has an interesting texture, similar to heather honey in that it is almost gel like (fixatropic). Not sure what this would do to the cooking process.

Yeah I've used both chestnut and buckwheat- - -the chestnut is great as a BACKNOTE ONLY; using all chestnut honey (frankly in just about anything) makes it taste like cat sweat.

Depending on what I'm using it for, I actually prefer to reduce the honey in lieu of the burnt sugar syrup. Honey is great in the more dessert-style, but when I make Pain D'epices, I keep it notably less sweet.

When its "borderline-sweet," its great both in a thin layer at the bottom of a creme brulee, OR as the bread in a smoked chicken and leicester tea sandwich...mmmm...


Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

"life is a combination of magic and pasta"

-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

-J. Child

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Hijacking this thread since I'm also having pain d'epices issues:

I was just trying to make mille-feuille de pain d’épices et glace vanille per this site, (with some minor variations) but I found that my pain, even though I banged it on the counter mightly per the instructions, was still quite full of small holes into which the ice-cream sank, thwarting the layered effect I'd hoped for. The different Pain d'epices which I had on my last visit to France were all much denser, so cleary I'm doing something wrong...

I have to say the end result was extremely tasty, but certainly no thing of beauty. Any tips for future attempts would be much appreciated.


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Eden, I don't see a recipe on that site, although the picture gives me the desire to try it myself. Was your pain d'épices frozen when you layered it? Personally I'd freeze the cake slices, add one layer of ice cream, refreeze, do another layer, and so on. I think that would prevent the sinking-in effect.

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the link should take you directly to the pain d'epices recipe, if not their website is doing something weird to me...

Thanks for the suggestion. I did not freeze the pain first, though I did freeze each added layer of ice-cream for a bit before adding the next slice of pain. The recipe suggests freezing for 5 minutes between layers, I went for 10, but would probably go 30 if I had it to do over with more lead time. I would probably also have my ice-cream a bit firmer than suggested.

I'm thinking of using the pain d'epices trimmings to revisit the fabulous Rabbit with Pain d’Epices Sauce you made for us this spring. That or make sweet/spicy croutons for a warm squash soup...


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Ok, your second link shows me the recipe, although with the first link I see only the photo. I still do think freezing the cake layers would help.

And for the trimmings, don't forget how good pain d'epices is with foie gras!

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And for the trimmings, don't forget how good pain d'epices is with foie gras!

Ah, leftovers! I remember a dessert we had at Eric Frechon's eponymous restaurant: pain d'epices french toast served with licorice ice cream. Sounds dreadful but was brilliant.

eGullet member #80.

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A Google search for:

Recettes pour pain d'épices a la ancienne

Throws up some interesting variations. I'm sure each region & each cook will defend their recipe as 'the' definitive one.

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