Aniseed Plait

Aniseed Plait (Photo Vanessa Courtier)

On the plantation at Skeldon, most families usually ate homemade breads and cakes but my hopes were always raised when I saw the baker’s delivery boy from the neighbouring village, the carrier on his bicycle filled with breads such as this simple but delicious aniseed plait. While researching the history of Dutch baking, I was delighted to find that there is a similar loaf in the southern province of Zeeland. The chief difference between this loaf and the one of my childhood is that it usually contains some nutmeg and a hint of mace and it is baked in a tin. Nowadays I often bake a hybrid version with the optional mace and nutmeg. Well wrapped, this will keep for a few days and also makes good toast. Serve sliced, with butter and a slice or two of mature cheese.

Oven: preheated to 200°C/390°F              Tin: large baking sheet, greased

Baking time: 30–35 minutes