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These spicy fruited biscuits were originally baked and eaten around Easter, particularly in the West Country of England, but are too good to be restricted to such a short time period! Please note that the measurements are dry weights, and not silly American fluid measurements for dry goods.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas 6.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk.
- Sift in the flour and allspice and mix well.
- Add the dried fruit and peel and enough brandy to make fairly soft dough.
- Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface and roll out until about ¼ inch thick; prick the top with a fork and cut into 2½-inch rounds using a fluted cutter.
- Put onto greased baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, brush with the lightly beaten egg white, sprinkle with caster sugar, and return to the oven to bake for about 5 minutes longer, until the tops are golden brown.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool.
- Store in a cookie tin or other airtight container at room temperature.