In the summer of 2015 while on holiday in France we made a brief stop in Dijon to break up the journey on our way back to Calais. With only one night in the city we had time for dinner and a quick walk around the following morning. But however limited our time, one thing was for sure, I was not going to pass on the opportunity to visit Mulot & Petitjean. Founded in 1796 they are the home of Pain d'épices in Dijon.
This trip inspired my nonnette recipe. Nonnettes, meaning 'little nuns' are a specialty of Burgundy. These delicious french gingerbreads are thought to date back to the middle ages when nuns would bake them at the monasteries and sell them to passing travellers. Traditionally orange marmalade is baked into the centre or on top, but I prefer to use ginger jam for a spicy ginger kick. They're made with honey and a combination of plain and rye flour which produces a somewhat dense cake with a more bread like texture.
I've also found these cakes are much better two or three days after baking so try to resist the temptation of eating them straight away!
I'm not a big fan of dainty cakes so I make my nonnettes using a 7cm diameter cylinder silicone mould, bit they work just as well in smaller muffin tins, just reduce the cooking time. If using the larger silicone mould the quantities in this recipe will make 8 cakes.
Soft light brown sugar
Bicarbonate of soda
Toasted flaked almonds
- Combine the Butter, honey, water, milk, rum and sugar in a pan and heat until dissolved and combined. Do not boil
- Combine the dry ingredients and orange zest in a bowl and pour on the liquid mixture. Whisk to combine
- Transfer to a piping bag and pipe (or carefully spoon) the mixture into each hole, to approximately 3/4 full
- Top each cake with 10g (approximately one heaped teaspoon) of ginger jam
- Bake at 160 fan for approximately 25 minutes
- Allow to cool in the moulds for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely
- Combine the icing sugar and orange juice, mix until smooth, it should be fairly thick and not too runny
- Spoon the icing over each cake allowing some to drip down the sides
- Sprinkle with crushed toasted flaked almonds and two pieces of chopped stem ginger