Like most biscuits, the recipe is really simple to follow. I must admit that I missed the instruction to only put in the yolk of a egg and not the whole thing. But with my sous-chef being in charge of egg-related activities there's no way I'd've gotten a separated egg anyway!
I had to add another 50g flour to compensate. The egg white is used to stick the sugar to the biscuits part way through baking. Luckily I had a spare one kicking around from another recipe that I'd been wondering what to do with.
Because of the extra liquid from the egg, I also didn't need the milk that James recommends. I guess for thriftiness, following the original recipe is best so that you don't have to waste an extra egg yolk by using a whole egg in the mix and needing a white for the glazing part.
As my mum doesn't like mixed peel I left that out and replaced it with extra currants. If I'd been making them for me I'd've gone with a chocolate and ginger combo like yesterday's buns or maybe sour cherry and apricot. There's always another time I guess.
I would also say that whoever wrote the recipe must've used tiny cutters. We used a large round fluted cutter and a butterfly cutter and managed twelve biscuits. The recipe specifies 20-25 biscuits so do consider this if you need to share them around with family and friends.
They've not been taste tested yet as we are all fit to burst after a huge tea of meatballs and spaghetti and birthday cake (on separate plates!) but they've passed the eagle-eyed sight test of my mother, the ex professional chef.
If she likes them then I guess that's another tradition to add to my list. Apparently her grandma used to make them for her as a child. Who knows why the tradition petered out but I'm happy to re-instigate it for Miss A.
Updated 8th April 2012 - Well the biscuits got the Mothership's seal of approval. She said they were nicely spiced and they had a nice soft texture without being too crunchy. I think if I made them again I'd probably zest an orange and a lemon into the mix to replace the candied peel. And even I enjoyed mine despite not being a fan of squashed fly biscuits.
- 110g/4oz caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 110g/4oz butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 free-range egg, separated
- 225g/8oz plain flour, sieved
- good pinch mixed spice
- 55g/2oz currants
- 30g/1oz candied peel
- 3 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk until well combined.
- Fold the flour into the mixture, then stir in the mixed spice, currants and candied peel. Stir in enough milk to form a stiff dough.
- Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut out the biscuits with a fluted cutter. Place onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with sugar and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.
- Remove the biscuits from the tray and set aside to cool on a wire rack.