Pain d'épice has been a tradition in Burgundy since the fourteenth century. Traditional recipes call for rye flour. But just because something is traditional doesn't make it matchless. A whole lot of indifferent cooks can get something going for a very long time and make you believe it's marvelous just because they say so. I have been making pain d'épice on and off for more than thirty years, and I have come to believe that the lovely light tang of rye flour clouds the delicate flavor of the spices and honey, so I use untraditional white flour. And finally, after all these years, I've made a bread that tastes the way those little loaves did out of my school bag in the Salle Richelieu. I might add that pain d'épice is not to everyone's taste. If you are a honey fancier, you'll like it. Perhaps you'll like it, it's a bit of an acquired taste. But there are those of us who think one or two thin slices of pain d'épice in the afternoon, slathered with sweet butter, sipped with black China tea, can cure all the ills to which flesh is heir.
Sylvia Thompson, from Feasts and Friends
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