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English Easter Biscuits

These spicy, fruited biscuits were originally baked and eaten around Easter, particularly in the West Country, but are too good to be restricted to such a short period. They keep well in an airtight tin.

ingredients

makes 30
100 g (4 oz) butter
75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
1 egg, separated
200 g (7 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground mixed spice
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
50 g (2 oz) currants
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped mixed peel
15 - 30 ml (1 - 2 tbsp) brandy or milk
caster sugar for sprinkling

method

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk. Sift in the flour, salt and spices and mix well. Add the fruit and peel and enough brandy or milk to give a fairly soft dough.

2. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface and roll out until about 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Cut into 6 cm
(2 inch) rounds using a fluted cutter. Place on to greased baking sheets and bake at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven, brush with the lightly beaten egg white, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and return to the oven to bake for about. 5 minutes longer, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

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