At first glance, you might think pain d'épices is a cake judging by the list of ingredients. But it is in fact a spicy bread from Alsace. Originally it was made with a wild fermentation, but for the sake of convenience this recipe uses baking powder. In France, it is served with a very fat duck's liver. But here, it makes a perfect partner for Castello Creamy Blue.
Compared with other blue mould cheeses, Creamy Blue has a relatively mild flavour which goes very well with honey and spices, such as those used in pain d'épices. It has its own distinctive flavour, yet also complements the bread. Perhaps serve with a little extra drizzle of honey on top – and possibly a thin layer of butter.
If you serve the bread warm, it will taste even better.
Beat the soft butter together with the honey. Whisk until it is airy. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, and then add the water and lemon zest.
In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the flour (rye and wheat), baking powder and spices. Sieve the mixture into the wet ingredients and stir well.
Tip the mixture into a greased bread tin. Bake for about one hour at 180°C in a pre-heated oven. Make sure to test whether it is properly baked, as the baking time may vary slightly depending on the height of the bread. To test whether it is baked, stick a knife or wood pin into the bread. It must be clean when it is pulled up.
Allow the bread to cool before it is cut into slices and eaten. If the bread feels a little dry after a couple of days, it will benefit from being lightly toasted.