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Nonnettes are French little round cakes made from gingerbread, honey, stuffed with orange marmalade, and covered with a fine sugary glaze.
They a part of my childhood, a gift that I received for St.Nicholas Day on December 6th (if you want to know more about St. Nicholas Day).
The Nonnettes take their name from “nuns”. In the Middle Ages, the nuns made their little round cakes in their monastery. They are recognized as a specialty of Dijon (Burgundy). Mulot & Petitjean is the oldest gingerbread factory in Dijon, a house founded in 1796.
In this recipe, it is possible to replace the orange marmalade with apricot jam or any other jam. My family tends to prefer the version with apricot jam, as the orange marmalade from the store in the U.S. is too bitter for us.
Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes with Honey and Orange Marmalade
- 150 ml water
- 100 g sugar
- 200 g honey (I used Wildflower Georgia Honey Farm)
- 80 g butter (I used Plugra)
- 1 orange zest, from 1 organic orange
- 1 tsp five-spice powder or homemade pain d'épice spices(*)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 160 g flour
- 120 g rye flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp per Nonnette orange marmalade
To make the glaze
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp orange juice or Rum
Butter and flour well, 8 ramekins* (or 12 cup muffin pan).
Heat the water, honey, sugar, butter, and orange peel while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat at the first simmerings.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices. Pour over the hot liquid while whisking to obtain a smooth batter. Leave for 1 hour in the refrigerator (*).
Preheat oven at 400 F.
Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins (or muffin pans) with an ice-cream scoop and put 1 teaspoon orange marmalade on top of each nonnette.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Allow the nonnettes to cool in the ramekins for 15 minutes before to unmold them.
Prepare the glaze:
Pour the sugar into a small bowl and stir well in the liquid with a fork. Brush evenly each nonnette with the glaze. Let completely dry before storing them in a tin box. Enjoy them the day after if possible.
Adapted from Edda - Blog "Dejeuner de Soleil"
(*) To make your own "Pain d'épices" spices:
- 20 g crushed cinnamon, powder or stick
- 2-star anise
- 10 cloves
- 10 grams of coriander seeds
- 7 g of anise
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Place all ingredients (except powdered spices) in the small bowl of a mixer (I used a coffee grinder). Blend.
- Add powdered spices. Mix.
- Use a fine mesh strainer as needed to have a mixture without pieces.
- Keep in a small jar or well-sealed container.
(*) From experience, I recommend putting the batter in the fridge to harden a little bit so the orange marmalade that you put on the top does not fall and stick to the bottom of your ramekins.