It may look like a long list of ingredients, but it’s all the wonderful spices and candied fruit that make these buns a favourite for all at Easter.
- 200ml milk, plus a little extra for glazing
- 3 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 20g fresh yeast
- 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
- 450g strong white flour
- 100g cold butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 3 eggs
- 150g currants
- 50g mixed peel
- 3 tbsp plain flour
Over a low heat, warm 200ml milk gently in a pan with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until just boiling. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to blood temperature and then strain the milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.
Put the flour into a big mixing bowl and add the butter, cut into small chunks Rub in with your fingertips until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar, the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.
Make a well in the middle, and add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs. Stir, and add enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size. (This may take a couple of hours)
On to a lightly greased work surface, knead for about a minute, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on baking trays lined with baking paper, and score a cross into the top of each with a knife (just very lightly). Cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.
Heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a paste. Brush each bun with the egg/milk mixture, and then using a piping bag (or a teaspoon) draw a thick cross on the top of each. Bake for about 25 minutes.
To make the buns glisten, melt a little apricot jam over a low heat, and brush onto the buns with a pastry brush.