The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Friday, 19 November 2010

Dutch Spice Bread or Pan di Spezie

For some time I have seriously thought that nobody was really reading this blog. Not even those few bribed friends who under duress subscribed as followers. But then the marvellous doors of technology opened to me and I discovered that you can trace the traffic of readers and even their location! I was over ecstatic! Three in Chile!! Now, our friends Anna and Struan are in Chile which makes me think that the statistic could count them separately and then together, but that would mean that they have or use 3 different computers...well, better not nosing around and live in the illusion I have multiple readers!

A couple of our friends even started to say that I might become famous and turn the blog into a book like Julie Powell in Julia & Julia. Ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Funny, very funny. But it's nice to be told that. Although the character of Julie is violently irritating. Never had a real egg?!?

However, I wonder why there are no men blogging about food when then they populate the famous kitchens - no time? Also we are literally inundated by blogs, some of them excellent. What makes a good blog?

Last night it was really cold in the house, and so I thought of warming myself up with the oven. Nothing that dramatic as gas suicidal... but simply baking a cake to have with my tea.

I had this wonderful and rich spice bread when I was in Amsterdam. I bought it in one of those cozy bakeries which only Northern countries seem to have. And Amsterdam has a special atmosphere of an old fashion village spiced up by ladies in windows and red glitzes. What I love of the place is the relaxed pace; flowers decorating bike handles, after office net tidying...

This bready cake is really easy to make and perfect for the Winter with all its aroma. You can decide the proportion of the spices in the way you want. My cousin who hates cinnamon will probably drop this ingredient all together.

Pan di Spezie (Spice bread; Pain d'epices; Gemberkoek)

250g flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp starred anice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp grated ginger or powdered
zest of 1 orange (and candied orange if you have it)
1 egg
200ml milk
200ml honey
100g brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder

1. Warm in a pan the milk and melt in it the honey and sugar. Do not let it boil or it will form a gloopy effect once in the flour. Set aside to cool down.

2. Mix the flour with the baking powder, the spices and orange zest.

3. Beat the egg and add it to the milk making sure it doesn't turn into an omelette by stirring energetically.

4. Sift the flour into the milky mix until well incorporated. It will be quite dense.

5. Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured plump cake tin. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at C180.

It is true that Amsterdam may give the impression of being very similar at every corner, but I can guarantee that each canal and bridge has its own character. Next time I'm there I will even be brave and hire a bike. Shouldn't be the risk of falling into the water hopefully....

P.S. This bread is very dangerous. Once you have it in the house, you just can't stop eating it...

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