Easter Biscuits

Easter Biscuits

This year, with the warm winter behind us, we’re experiencing a cold Easter-tide.  As if the spring flowers hadn’t already had enough to put up with!  They’ve had fewer daylight hours, as the mild temperatures have encouraged them to flower early.  The ground they’re growing in is sodden, so that each subsequent squall has splattered mud up on to their blooms, always assuming that the wind hadn’t already battered them down to the ground.

To cheer us up, I decided to make Lenten Biscuits, which of course can be enjoyed over the Easter holiday, and, if they last long enough, on into the following week.  Something sweet and crunchy to have with a cuppa, while the Easter eggs are being converted into another notch loosened on the waist band, perhaps!

I found the forebears of this recipe in a book I’ve been using for over 40 years, and I hope you will enjoy the resulting biscuits as much as we do.  They are definitely biscuits, not cookies - there is a very distinct crunch when you bite into them. 

I refer to “baking fat” rather than specifying butter or baking marge; it is a matter of choice, and I use a mix of both.  Butter gives a tastier finish, but is probably not so good for cholesterol levels. (NB – margarine requires slightly more flour than butter to achieve the right texture for the dough.)  As we are a gluten-free household, I used 175g of GF plain flour, 20g of chickpea flour and approximately 40g of potato flour.  Potato flour adds that bit of glue that is absent from unadulterated GF flour. Because there is only one egg yolk in this recipe I added extra potato flour to help bind the dough.


100g baking fat or a mix of margarine and butter
50g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
225g plain flour (or gluten free alternative - see above)
A large pinch of mixed spice
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
1 egg, separated
25g mixed chopped peel
50g – 75g dried fruit
A little milk

To finish the biscuits

Lightly beat the egg white with a fork and have to hand approximately 50g caster sugar.  You will need a pastry brush to apply the egg white.

Assemble the ingredients, and prepare 2 baking sheets, lining them with baking paper or a silicone sheet.


Cream together the fat, the grated lemon zest, and the sugars, until well blended.  Sprinkle the mixed spice into the flour, then add a spoonful of flour and the egg yolk and mix in thoroughly. Mix in the rest of the flour and the dried fruit. Keep stirring till you have a thick, pastry-like dough. The next step is to roll the dough into one ball with your hands. If not all the flour has been incorporated and it is very dry, add a splash of milk. If it is not dry enough, sift more flour over it and incorporate it into the dough. It should be easy to handle, not wet and sticky.

At this point, switch on the oven. The oven temperature should be approximately 170o but most oven thermostats vary, so don’t fret if you put the biscuits into a slightly cooler or hotter oven, just monitor the cooking progress after five minutes or so and adjust the dial accordingly.

While the oven is heating, divide your dough into approximately 24 little round balls and put them on the baking trays, then flatten them out with the back of a fork, so they have a textured surface.  Don’t flatten them too much or the edges might singe before the biscuits are cooked through.

Set the timer for 10 minutes, at which point take the tray from the oven and quickly brush the surface of each biscuit with egg white.  Next, sprinkle a little caster sugar over each one and return the tray to the oven.  After 5 minutes, check progress – if they are a lovely deep tan, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

These biscuits go very well with a cup of tea or coffee, or just as a pick-me-up while you’re waiting for the next shower to finish!