Pain d’epices (Spice bread) recipe from the oldest confectioner in Paris

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Recently I purchased this cookbook.

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It was published last year and it includes all of the recipes for the goodies made in the oldest confectioner’s in Paris. It was founded in 1761!

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The first recipe I tried was this spice bread and it was fabulous. Very moist and perfect with tea. The recipe included something called star anise which I happened to have from a purchase I made the last time I was in France. (When I travel, I try to check the supermarkets for spices that I can’t easily find in Spain). Star anise is very beautiful to look at because it really is shaped like a star.

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I wanted to learn more about it and discovered that this is how it looks in nature:

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How beautiful! The seeds are in the petals and you have to pick them out.
They look like apple seeds.

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Their flavour is so strong that it is recommended that you don’t crush them unless you want an extremely overpowering licorice flavour. For those of you who don’t have star anise, you can replace it with anise seeds! A lot less work!
Equivalents:
1 teaspoon anise seed = 2 crushed star anise
1 whole star anise = 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise

Ok, enough about my botanical discovery and on with the recipe!

Pain D’epice

Ingredients
100 g milk
350g honey
A pinch of salt
3 g cinnamon stick
2 g star anise
140 g whole wheat flour
160 g rye flour
13 g baking powder
3 eggs
150 g unsalted butter, melted
200 g candied orange peel, diced

Warm the milk, honey and salt in a saucepan over low heat and stir to combine. Add the cinnamon and star anise [or anise seeds], then remove from the heat and set aside to cool to allow the flavours to infuse.
Meanwhile, sift the flours and the baking powder into a mixing bowl. Incorporate the eggs. Discard the spices from the milk[I used a strainer snd if you use anise seeds don’t bother straining them. Just take out the cinnamon stick
] and stir the infused milk into the batter. [The mixture will be clumpy, don’t panic]. Add the hot melted butter and mix well, then fold in the orange peel.

Preheat the oven to 145°.Lightly grease and line a large of tin or small loaf tins with baking paper.
⭐The recipe originally used three small loaf tins anout 15 cm long. I didn’t have these so I used my long baking tin. It required over an hour to bake. Any bread or cake with dried fruit or candied fruit takes time!
Pour the batter into the tins and bake. The required time depends upon the size of the tins. The original required time was 40 minutes.

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The cake is done when a toothpick or blade of a knife is inserted in the center and comes out clean.  Leave on a rack to cool.

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Enjoy!xxxx Natascha