Subscribe and choose a new cookbook
The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Put the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl, then mix well. Stir in the eggs and zest until the mixture starts forming clumps, then bring the dough together with your hands – it will seem dry at first but keep kneading until no floury patches remain. Add the fruit and nuts, then work them in until evenly distributed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a sausage about 30cm long. Place 2 on each tray, well spaced apart. Bake for 25-30 mins until the dough has risen and spread and feels firm. It should still look pale. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack for a few mins until cool enough to handle, then turn down the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1.
Using a bread knife, cut into slices about 1cm thick on the diagonal, then lay the slices flat on the baking sheets. The biscuits can be cooled and frozen flat on the sheet at this point, then bagged and frozen for up to 2 months. Bake for another 15 mins (20 mins if from frozen), turn over, then bake again for another 15 mins until dry and golden. Tip onto a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight tin for up to one month, or pack into boxes or cellophane bags if giving as gifts straightaway.