There seem to be mutiple ways to interpret what a “teacake” is, as well as a variety of yeasted tea-type “buns” that contain some combination of dried fruit.

I was on a hunt recently for a basic yeasted, fruited bun (or teacake, as I understand it can be called) that could be simply toasted and eaten with butter and a cup of tea. After some online searching, I ran across a Teacakes recipe from BBC’s Good Food site and decided to give it a try.

I ended up following the recipe pretty closely, except for a few things:

– The recipe calls for strong bread flour; however, I didn’t have any on hand, so used all-purpose flour instead, and it seemed to do just fine. For me, the texture of the teacakes was good, crusty on the outside with toasting, and a bit chewy and soft on the inside.

– I’m a big fan of currants, so that’s the only dried fruit I ended up using. I tried mascerating them in my favorite apricot liquer for about an hour to see if that added a little additional kick of flavor, but I really couldn’t taste it once they were baked. But hey, it was worth a try!

– For the spice mix, I simply used my Chai spice mix leftover from Christmas baking. The original recipe called for only 1/2 teaspoon, but I added a big heaping one and would have still been happy with a little more spice flavor. But that’s my flavor palate, it’s not required.

I followed the instructions about keeping the salt from the yeast when mixing, though wasn’t sure how successfully I’d managed to keep from killing the yeast until I saw that it did indeed rise – success!

It looks like a lot of fruit, but just work it in as evenly as possible so you get fruit in every bite.

They rose pretty well the second time as well.

And don’t forget to egg wash them before baking – it makes that really lovely, shiny browning happen that makes them look almost professional.

Teacakes

  • Servings: 6 pieces
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 100 ml. milk
  • 30 g. butter
  • 100 ml. water
  • 350 g. strong white bread flour (all-purpose works fine too)
  • 7 g. sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 75 g. mixed dried fruit (peel, sultanas, raisins, currants, according to your taste)
  • Butter or oil for greasing
  • 1 egg, beaten, to use as egg wash

Directions

Add milk and butter to a small saucepan and warm until the butter is melted. Add the 100 ml. water to cool the mixture to room temperature.

Add the flour, yeast, sugar, spice and 1 tsp. salt to a large bowl, making sure the yeast is on the other side of the bowl to the salt. Once the milk mixture is room temp, pour it into a well in the flour mixture and mix it together with your hands, forming a dough.

Tip the dough onto a clean surface to knead it about 5 minutes, until smooth. Lightly oil a bowl before putting the dough into the bowl, covering it with a damp towel and letting it rise about 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take the risen dough and tip it back onto a clean surface, tipping the dried fruits into the dough and kneading them in. Try to make sure they are evenly mixed throughout the dough.

Cut the dough into 6 even-sized balls. Take each ball and, using the cup of your hand, press down a little with your palm, rolling the ball in a circular motion on the surface to create tension across the top of the bun and a neat round shape.

Place onto the cookie sheet, leaving room between for them to rise. Press down on top of each bun just a little to flatten them to create the teacake shape. Then cover them with an oiled sheet of cling film until they have again doubled in size, or 45 minutes.

Heat your own to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously brush the top of each teacake with the beaten egg, then bake 20 minutes, until they are golden brown and well risen.

Allow the teacakes to cool. They are best eaten toasted and slathered with butter, or your favorite toast topping.

A much as I think these turned out great and they are delicious as-is, I’m already thinking about how I might tweak them differently next time (I know, can’t help myself!). For example, make them a little smaller in size – they are so generously proportioned, half of just one is enough for me to accompany a cup of tea.

Also, I wouldn’t mind a little crunch of pecan or walnut, or some kind of seed to add to the texture. Could also think about adding some flax seed for additional health benefit.

But give them a try if you like a good toasted bun with little punches of dried fruit flavor. They are simply perfect with a cup of tea!

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