The literal translation of quatre épices is four spices; however, quatre épices rarely contains JUST four spices, but can have anything up to five or six spices in the mixture! This is my own version of quatre épices, a spice mixture that I find invaluable in the French kitchen, especially for charcuterie such as terrines, pates, sausages and rillettes. This spice mix is also that quintessential ingredient when added to deep, dark slow cooked beef and game dishes, especially when they contain wine. There is a school of thought that suggests the need for a "sweet" quatre épices spice mix as well a "savoury" quatre épices spice mix; I have never bothered to deviate from this basic recipe, which is equally delicious in savoury dishes (as mentioned above), and when used with moderation in sweet puddings, rich cakes and biscuits. My recipe contains five spices and will keep for a several weeks in an airtight tin or jar. This spice mix also makes a thoughtful gift for a foodie friend or host and hostess!
- Put all of the ingredients in a spice mill or blender and process until evenly ground.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place.
- Lasts for about 4 to 6 weeks without any loss of intensity of flavour.
- NB: If you are REALLY concerned about using this mix in sweet cooking, the white peppercorns can be substituted for the same amount of allspice berries!
What a wonderful spice mix! I really like the combination of spicy peppercorns with sweet cinnamon and intense cloves. I am sure that this will be great in many different kinds of dishes, especially sauces and sweet desserts or baked goods. Cant wait to try it in scones. :) I made up half a batch, grinding the spices in my mum's mortar and pestle and it yielded quite a lot, but I wish I had made the full recipe as this would be great as a gift, too. I will make more and give it to my swap partner in your herbs and spices swap. Cant wait to hear how she likes it. THANKS SO MUCH for sharing this great recipe with us, FT! Made and reviewed for Aussie/NZ Swap January 2010.
Very nice. Wondering what spices would make a good quatre Ã©pices for sweets. Thanks for the recipe.
This was easy to put together (I grated the nutmeg with my micro-planer before grinding everything). The smell is wonderful and when I tasted it, it has some zing to it. I am going to try it in a rub for a pork roast later. I made the peppercorn version, but will try the allspice next time. UPDATE: I have tried this on pork and chicken and it was wonderful on both!