If Helen of Troy was Pain d'Epice I could clearly understand the launching of a thousand ships in her name by Greece, unfortunately what we do know of Helen of Troy was she was very beautiful woman, who was not a heavenly spice bread. I am right now eating the second of my two toasted slices of pain d'epice that came from a loaf that I made last night, it has butter and Vanilla Pear jelly on it, it literally feels like I am eating autumn in toast form. The mere act of toasting it this morning brought out its heavenly spicy scent that I would pay great deal of money for if I found it in a bottled fragrance form (Now imagine how gorgeous the house smelled yesterday when I baked this and brought it out of the oven). So how did I come about making French spice bread aka pain d'epice in the middle of August, well when I was around 12 I went to visit my mother's family in France and was treated to my grandmother getting my brother and I, "gingerbread". I remember at first I did not like it because it was nothing like molasses gingerbread of the US that I was use to, and for the particular fact that it used anise seed which I did not realize until now is one of th main flavoring components to pain d'epice, yet suddenly in this last week I had an incredible craving (of course it is around August that I always have a craving for autumn and winter foods). So I did some research...and found that in fact that it was very makeable and I wanted to make some now. This is the first Recipe so far that I have used but I am now finding that there quite a few that invovle rye flour and after buying a bag of rye flour for the disastrous Nigella Lawson Rarebit muffins I really want to use my flour and this looks like the perfect way. Even if you don't like anise seed you might like this because the anise plays a role but with the blending of spices it reaches a whole new role that is rarely seen in American cookery.
By the way I have always held that if heaven exists and it has a scent, it would smell like Frangelico Liquour, well I'm adding Pain d'Epice as another scent for heaven.