Using Fairtrade raisins. Delicious toasted and buttered.
Makes approx. 12 buns.
50g, plus 1 level tsp, caster sugar
1 level tbs dried yeast (do not use the easy-blend dried yeast.)
450g plain flour
1 level tsp salt
1 rounded tsp mixed spice
40-55 ml warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
For the glaze:
2 level tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs water
For the crosses:
4 oz (110g) plain flour
3 tbs water
You will also need a greased baking sheet.
1. First stir the teaspoon of caster sugar into 150 ml hand-hot water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy 'beer' head forms.
2. Meanwhile sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl and add the remaining 50 g of sugar, and the raisins.
3. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture plus 40 ml of milk (again hand-hot), the beaten egg and the melted butter. Now mix it to a dough, starting with a wooden spoon and finishing with your hands (add a spot more milk if it needs it).
4. Transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 6 minutes.
5. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a lightly oiled plastic bag, and leave it in a warm place to rise – it will take about an hour to double its original size.
6. Turn it out and knead it again, back down to its original size.
7. Divide the mixture into 12 round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion). Leave them to rise once more, covering again with the oiled plastic bag, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7.
8. For the crosses, mix the flour and water, roll out very thinly and divide into small strips, dampen and place on top of the buns before baking.
9. Bake the buns for about 15 minutes. While they're cooking, make the glaze by melting the sugar and water over a gentle heat. Brush the buns with the glaze as soon as they come out of the oven, to make them nice and sticky.