Pain d'Epice

This, give or take a little sugar and baking powder, is the original article, as adapted from the Larousse gastronomique. It is an acquired taste. You couldn't accuse it of being light, but it has its charm: the honey, the flour and the spices all seem to bring out the flavors in each other.

500 g honey
500 g flour (white, rye or a mixture)
100 g caster sugar 2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp aniseed
a pinch each of cinnamon and cloves
grated zest of a lemon
30 ml milk
extra sugar

Heat the honey to boiling point, then skim it and mix it into the sifted flour. Leave to stand, covered, for at least an hour, and possible a day. Knead in the sugar, baking agents and flavorings. Put in a buttered 23 cm square cake tin. Bake at 190 °C (gas mark 5) for about 30 minutes. Then make a syrup by mixing cold milk with as much sugar as it takes to go syrupy. Brush this over the hot cake, then leave to cool.

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