Here’s our recipe. You’ll need…
1 level teaspoon of sugar and 5fl oz hand-hot water (for the yeast)
2oz caster sugar –
1 level tablespoon of dried yeast
1lb plain flour
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 rounded teaspoon of mixed spice
2oz chopped candied peel
2 fluid ounces (or slightly less, use your judgement) of warmed milk
1 beaten egg
2oz melted butter
2 ounces of plain flour and
1 ounce of cold butter – for the crosses.
2 level tablespoons of granulated sugar
And 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze.
First, make your cross dough (it’s not angry, it’s going to make the crosses on the top). Cut your cold butter into little pieces and rub it into the flour to make a stiff dough. Add more water if it’s crumbly, the dough should be smooth and pliable. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, then put them it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, this will make it easier to roll.
Stir the teaspoon of caster sugar into the warm water, sprinkle in the yeast and let it get a good, foamy head.
While the yeast is working, sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl and add the 2oz sugar, the dried fruit and peel. Make a well in the mix and pour in the foamy yeast mixture and the milk – finger hot, just stick a digit in, it should feel like a nice, hot bath, the beaten egg and melted butter (most recipes say unsalted, but I always use the regular salted stuff and it always works out fine for me).
Get your hands in and mix it to a sticky dough then get it onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 10 minutes – until it’s like good bread dough, smooth and elastic.
Pop the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and leave it in a warm place to double its size, then turn it out and knead again for a couple of minutes. Divide into a dozen buns and arrange them on greased baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between each one so they have room to rise
Take your cross dough and roll each out, with your hands, into a long, thin sausage. Cut each in half and use it to gently – don’t flatten them – make a cross on the top of each. Leave the buns to rise, till they have doubled in size again – about half an hour. Pre-heat your oven to 425’F, 220’C. Slide the buns in and bake for 15 minutes. While they’re cooking, melt your glaze sugar in the water on a low heat. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with the sugar glaze then let them cool for as long as you can bear it.
Split them, toast them and drench them in butter.
If you can’t be bothered with all that, buy them from your favourite bakers or shops. Mine came from Aldi, and very good they are, too.
HAPPY EASTER EVERYBODY!