Sweet wine gingerbread

Sweet wine gingerbread

The end of the year is near, winter is fast approaching. What better way to comfort ourselves than with the sweet flavors of gingerbread? There are dozens of gingerbread recipes. I've tried one from the book All My Best Desserts by French chef Julie Andrieu. Why ? First of all because she is a person whose work and recipes I really appreciate (I have rarely been disappointed with the results). Secondly, because the recipe includes wine! The gingerbread is not too sweet, you can identify each of the spices used when tasting it, and it is very soft, thanks to the wine with it is soaked after baking.

The recipe

Gingerbread and Coteaux du Layon, a sweet wine from the Loire Valley

- 85g butter
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 tsp green anise seeds
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp  4 spice mix
- 200g flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 240g honey
- 1 egg
- 85g milk
- 5cl sweet wine

- Preheat the oven to 160°C (th. 5-6).
- Butter and sugar a cake mould.
- Melt the butter and let it cool.
- Ground together the cloves, the anise seeds, the cardomom seeds collected from the pods and the salt. Then mix with the other spices.
- In a bowl, pour the flour, baking soda and the spice mixture, then mix with a whisk to remove lumps.
- Heat the honey to 50°C.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg with the warm honey. Add the milk and melted butter.
- Gradually incorporate into the dry mixture. Mix and pour into the cake mould.
- Bake halfway up on a rack for 45 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes. Unmould then soak in wine using a brush.

Gingerbread and sweet wine from the Loire Valley

What should you drink with this gingerbread? The sweet wine you've used for the recipe, of course! My choice fell on a Coteaux du Layon Saint Aubin 'Les Varennes' 2013 from Domaine Cady. My most memorable emotion when tasting a sweet wine was at Domaine Cady's. On a Saturday in December, at the end of the 1990s, I took part in the domain's open house weekend with my future husband and a friend. We tasted quite a few wines produced at the winery and finished with a wine called 'Volupté' - a super sweet wine that was so good I remember not wanting to swallow the sip I had in my mouth. Velvety, full-bodied, powerful, complex, well-balanced ... these are the adjectives that come to mind when I recall this memory. Domaine Cady is a family estate which has been growing organic grapes for several years now and whose sweet and super sweet wines are probably among the best ones in the Loire Valley.
Some information about the chosen wine:
- Origin: the Loire Valley, and more precisely the Anjou region and the Layon Valley
- Grape variety: 100% Chenin Blanc
- AOC: Coteaux du Layon Saint Aubin. It is a Villages Appellation (there are 5 other towns bordering the Layon river whose names can be affixed on the bottle to complete the Coteaux du Layon AOC).
- Terroir: Les Varennes is a 2.5 ha plot on schist soil.
- Harvest: hand harvest in October and / or November with 3 successive sortings. Sugars are concentrated the sugars by collecting the grapes affected by noble rot.
- Wine-making: fermentation for 3 months in neutral and temperature-controlled vats. Ageing on fine lees for 8 months. Bottling in September following the harvest.
- Pairings: aperitif, foie gras, blue cheese, fruit tarts (tarte Tatin, plum or apricot tarts), gingerbread.


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