Thursday, February 09, 2006

SHF#16: Recipe for Love: Toasted Pain d'Epice with Jam

The theme for this month's Sugar High Friday--Recipe for Love. Appropriate for February of course, and a due a few days before Valentine's so you have time to woo your target of choice.

Interestingly, as I was researching aphrodisiac ingredients, I discovered that many are categorized also as cures for impotence. So perhaps its not that women through the ages felt they needed help to find a man, but that the men they found needed help??? Hmmm...

Regardless, I settled on Pain D'Epice, an Alsatian spice cake, whose aroma alone, seeping out of your kitchen, could lure a partner your way. Five key ingredients have love-creating qualities, according to The Cooking Couple's Aphrodisiacs A-Z and GourmetSleuth.

Cloves--This spice, first used in China around 200 BC has always had a rep
uttion as a powerful love food.
Cardamom--Used in Indian herbal medicine. Supposedly, a nightcap of cardamom-flavored milk cures impotence.
Ginger--This root's been used for centuries as a cure for impotence. Also, in Europe (not sure where?) young maidens baked and ate gingerbread men believing the ritual would bring them a husband.
Honey--In ancient Egypt, cures for sterility and impotence were based on honey. Medieval seducers plied their partners with mead, a fermented honey drink. Lovers on their honeymoon drank mead to sweeten their marriage.
Nutmeg--Highly prized by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac, nutmeg in large quanities is a hallucinogen.

Toasting is a must--without that, I find the bready texture of the cake fairly dry and dense. But toasted, slathered with your favorite jam, eaten with your hands, it's divinely romantic.

Toasted Pain D'Epice
slightly adapted from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers cookbook

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. honey
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. fresh, grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a loaf pan. In a large saucepan, bring the honey, brown sugar, and 3/4 c. water to a boil, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Immediately take off the heat. Sift in one cup of the flour, whisking constantly (A cooking partner is helpful for this). Set aside.

Sift together the remaining cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, ginger, and ginger juice. Whisk the honey mixture into the eggs. Slowly fold the remaining dry ingredients into the batter in three parts. Go slow to avoid lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is firm to the touch. Let cool completely before slicing.

For toasting: Slice your pain d'epice and butter both sides. Heat up a heavy cast iron skillet, or your broiler, and toast.


Jennifer said...

Love the bread! I might just have to make some myself.

Thanks for taking part in Sugar High Friday this month. Look for a wrap up by the end of the weekend.

Anonymous said...

some details a father would rather not know:-)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever dried black pepper in your pain? Sounds odd but a little makes for a lovely little kick. I have just been peaking around on your site and it is fabulous. :)

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