200 ml semi-skimmed milk
55 g unsalted butter
2 x 7 g sachets of dried yeast
350 g strong white bread flour
100g sifted strong whole meal bread flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ – 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
55 g caster sugar
2 balls of stem ginger
1 large egg
55 g sultanas or raisins, soaked in orange juice for at least half an hour
1 tablespoon glacé cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons mixed peel
Paste crosses – 2 tablespoons flour, plus water
OR icing sugar crosses – more icing sugar than you think you need, dissolved in less water than you think you need.
1 teaspoon(ish) golden syrup
2 teaspoons orange juice
Tiny bit of hot water
Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat until just warm
Melt the butter separately
Take the milk off the heat, transfer to a bowl and stir in the yeast.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add 1 teaspoon of salt, spices and sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and cherries and stir it into the mix.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture.
Beat the egg and add it to the bowl.
Mix well (use a fork or a dinner knife) to give a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock some of the air out, flatten a bit, sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Grease and line a large baking tray.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball and space evenly on the baking tray
Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
FOR PASTE CROSSES – Place the plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.
Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.
IF USING ICING SUGAR, LEAVE THE CROSSES UNTIL THEY’VE COME OUT OF THE OVEN.
Turn the oven temperature down to 190°C and put the buns in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over with the orange juice/syrup mixture whilst still hot, then leave to cool (do the icing sugar crosses when they’re cool).