- 500g strong white bread flour
- 3 tbsp light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 3 tsp mixed spice
- 85g butter
- 200ml milk , plus 1 tbsp
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable oil
- 175g mix of sultanas and raisins
- 25g mixed peel (optional)
- 50g glacé cherry , roughly chopped
- zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 400g white marzipan
- handful flaked almonds
For the icing
- 50g icing sugar , plus more to dust
- STEP 1
Put the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Rub in the butter. Or you can do this in a food processor. Put 200ml milk, treacle and brandy into a pan and warm until the treacle melts. Stir well.
- STEP 2
Beat one of the eggs and the oil into the liquid, then add the whole lot to the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth dough. Let it sit for 10 mins, then knead for 1 min on a lightly floured surface until smooth and springy. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Leave it overnight in the fridge instead if you have time – bring the dough back up to room temperature before step 3.
- STEP 3
Lightly flour the work surface. Tip the dough from its bowl and press out into a rectangle about A4 size. Scatter over the fruit and zest, knead in until even, then roll out the dough to a rectangle approximately 50 x 15cm. Squash the marzipan into a cylinder, then roll into a thick sausage the same length as the dough. Sit it in the middle of the dough, wet the dough a little around the edges and roll it around the marzipan.
- STEP 4
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Dip a large sharp knife into some flour and slice into 14 rounds, discarding the very end bits. Flatten each bun and its marzipan middle a little with your hand. You can freeze them at this stage. Put onto the sheets well spaced, then cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise until about half their size again. Beat the second egg with 1 tbsp milk and brush it all over the buns. Sprinkle with almonds.
- STEP 5
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and bake for 15 mins or until risen and golden. After a few mins cooling, lift onto a cooling rack. Melt the icing sugar with 4 tbsp just-boiled water, then brush the syrup all over the buns – be generous with it. Dust with a little more sugar to serve. Best eaten within 48 hrs.