I’m British, a New York transplant for over half a decade now, which sounds longer than six years, which is, in fact, the accurate number of years that I have lived here. But I think it’s time to politely mention that what my adopted home city makes up for in snow, it lacks in things you toast to eat with a cup of tea.
Say what you like about my native cuisine, Britain, in my opinion, leads the world in the culinary category of things you toast and eat with a cup of tea: crumpets, pikelets, Eccles cakes, currant buns, muffins, Scotch pancakes, hot cross buns, and, especially, teacakes.
Teacakes are fruited buns, a little like a hot cross bun, but not quite as sweet. You bake them, then you slice them and toast them, and spread them with butter.
Now, at first glance, they may not seem like the kind of thing you would make, because, yeast. And I have some sympathy with that position. My entire family loves teacakes but would never, ever make one from scratch, though my sister once made pâté that took three days of processes, and my grandma regularly made her own puff pastry. Yes. Puff. Anyway. So yeast. So what?
You can totally achieve these buns.
Here’s how you do it:
1 3/4 cups flour (strong bread flour)
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon and ginger, tsp orange zest (all optional)
2/3 cup mixed dried fruits — I use sultanas, raisins, and (not traditional, but still) cranberries
3/4 cup milk (plus a dab for brushing pre-baking)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fast-acting dried yeast