Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Honey-Citrus Gingerbread

I know, I know, I should be posting about Thanksgiving and turkey and all that, but everyone else is doing it. How about a change from the pumpkin and potatoes?
This quick bread is based off a french Pains d'Épices, also known as gingerbread, but with more citrus zest and honey flavor. The batter is thick and takes a while to put together and cook, but I think it's worth the effort. Eat it for breakfast with a glass of milk, or slice it thin and dress it with not-too-sweet whipped cream for an elegant dessert. I recommend making it a day early because it gets denser and easier to slice with time. Store it wrapped in foil at room temperature.

If you don't have a scale, get one. Without a scale you can't make most European recipes, and most breads are by weight as well. Get one precise to at least .25 oz or 5 grams for flexibility.


Main ingredients:
  • 130g all-purpose flour (4.6 oz)
  • 70g Rye flour (2.5 oz) (The rye can be replaced with regular flour, but I think it improve the loaf. And it's traditional!)
  • 40g brown sugar (1.4 oz)
  • 100g butter, melted (about 7 tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins
Flavorings (This is where you can be creative, use your imagination and cupboard to find your favorite combination):
  • 250g honey (8.8 oz)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • anise seed, cloves (to your taste, can be ommitted)

Putting it together:
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Combine Flavorings in a saucepan and heat until the honey starts to bubble. Lower heat and cook for aout 5 minutes.
  • Combine both flours, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  • Add the honey mixture and melted butter to the flour and blend completely.
  • Let cool 5 minutes and add the egg and milk.
  • Stir in raisins.
  • Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan, bake 55-60 miutes. If the top starts to darken too much, cover with a piece of foil.
  • The loaf is done when an inserted kife comes out clean.

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