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Tea cakes
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This enriched dough made with butter, milk, eggs and a little sugar gives these fruity buns a moreish soft texture. Resist adding any more flour when you are kneading the ingredients together; it should be soft and sticky. Bakers follow the rule “The wetter the better”. Enjoy as they are or toasted and spread with butter, jam or a fruit curd.

Tea cakes

Put the yeast in a small bowl and add a splash of milk and a pinch of the sugar. Leave to activate for 5 minutes.

Put the flour into a large bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Add the mixed spice and remaining sugar and toss to mix. Warm the remaining milk until hand hot.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the frothy yeast mixture, the butter, egg and 250ml. of the hot milk. Knead well to make a soft sticky dough - this will take about 10 minutes - adding in the extra 50ml. milk if the dough needs it. If you are using a freestanding mixer, use the dough hook to do this - it will take about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place to allow the dough to rise and double in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and stretch it into a rectangle. Tip the dried and candied fruit into the middle of the dough and wrap the edges over it, then knead well to incorporate all the fruit.

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C/400⁰F. Divide the dough into 12 even-sized pieces and shape each one into a roll. Push any dried fruit that is exposed on top to underneath the dough, otherwise it will burn when the roll is baked. Put on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for around 1 hour to prove. It is ready when you press your finger into the dough and it springs back.

Remove the clingfilm and brush the rolls with beaten egg then sprinkle with a little granulated sugar and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until the rolls are golden and they sound hollow when tapped underneath.
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to three days.

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