Alsatian Gingerbread

By • December 9, 2013 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted from Jacquy Pfeiffer’s The Art of French Pastry. Makes a single low-slung, honeyed loaf. Feel free to add spices or boost the quantities given; I have here (and also added a touch of salt). And if you want a sugar glaze, paint it on once the loaf comes out of the oven.Nicholas Day

Makes 1 small loaf

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange or lemon peel, diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the brown sugar and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm.
  2. Sift together the flours, spices, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the milk-egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stop and scrape up any flour that’s stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Add the warm honey and brown sugar and then the diced citrus peel and mix on medium speed until well-combined.
  4. Lightly butter and flour a medium loaf pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is deep brown.

Topics: Holiday Entertaining

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Comments (20) Questions (0)


4 months ago Starmade

I made this yesterday and wanted to add a comment before I got over my enthusiasm; I didn't have candied peel but I saw how the orange flavour would help so I grated zest from an orange into the honey, where it sort of candied itself before I took it off the burner. I wanted a fruit in the bread so I chopped in a few dates and I also added cardamom since I didn't have anise. It was superb and had that *old* flavor some have mentioned. Never I have I seen rye flour put to a better use. I went looking for the tradition behind the recipe, and found an intriguingly pure version that using all rye flour and no egg http://wholegrainscouncil.... In the search I also turned up another version on this site by thirschfeld which chops prunes into it, and adds butter (which also looks good but it did not seem to me to need any fat):
Anyway I think this version shall become my main reference.


5 months ago Shelley Matheis

I have whole wheat pastry flour; would it be better to use that?

And Harriet. I think maple syrup would be lovely.


5 months ago Shelley Matheis

I have whole wheat pastry flour; would it be better to use that?
And Harriet, I think maple syrup would be lovely.


5 months ago Harriet Lobegeiger

Looks delicious, however I'm allergic to honey - do you think that maple syrup (or any other suggestions!) would work as a substitute? Thanks.


about 1 year ago aussiefoodie

Great loaf cake that is not too sweet, and has a nice tang of ginger and spices. I was out of brown sugar, so used superfine sugar but substituted 1 tbsp of the honey for 1 tbsp of molasses. Also used dried apricots instead of peel, and added 1 tbsp of chopped crystallized ginger and an extra teaspoon of ground ginger. Would recommend piercing the top of the cake when drizzling over the glaze to allow more to soak in.


about 1 year ago monacake

this past sunday was cold and snowy - the perfect time to make this cake. it tastes of the past with warm spices and a hearty crumb, and the orange peel brightens it and makes it somehow lighter. what a gift this recipe is. thanks so much for sharing it.


over 1 year ago Nancy Nottingham

I don't have access to candied orange or lemon peel - can I substitute dried apricots or other dried fruit? Also, for a strong ginger lover - what about adding a little candied ginger -that I do have? Looks great, thanks for the great website.


over 1 year ago Nicholas Day

You can, and you can.


over 1 year ago mknubel

Could this recipe work with plain gluten-free flour?


over 1 year ago somebunnyslove

I was wondering if molasses could be used instead of the honey and brown sugar?


over 1 year ago Nicholas Day

I wouldn't, if I were you. The honey's pretty key.


over 1 year ago Lisa Kohn

Actually another Alsatian cookie/cake, lebkuchen, is similarly spicy and does use molasses -- but with white sugar (and unsweetened chocolate). So if you are looking for the darker flavor of molasses, you might enjoy lebkuchen.


over 1 year ago Asuysal

Can you add the recipe for the sugar glaze? This looks delicious!


over 1 year ago Nicholas Day

It's basically 4 parts confectioners' sugar to 1 part water, with a tiny bit of lemon juice.


over 1 year ago JessieV

This bread sounds so beautiful, and I, too, muse over memories, Sicilian recipes, and tripping in the woods. Off to make this today - thank you!


over 1 year ago sofia

For someone who cannot consume dairy, what could be an alternative to the milk? Or could I use almond milk for instance?


over 1 year ago Nicholas Day

I think that would work. It's worth trying.


over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Wow! this sounds terrific and not too unhealthy! Will make this over the weekend.


over 1 year ago Sara S.

This looks fantastic! Do you think it work if I made it a day or two in advance?


over 1 year ago Nicholas Day

It would!