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James’ Nordic Teacakes

Soak the fruit in these teacakes overnight, before baking, to give a really rich flavour. A cardamom-infused citrus glaze adds a glossy finish.

Makes: 12

Hands-on time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes

Skill level: Easy

For the soaked fruit:

200g sultanas 

100g dried cranberries 

75ml port 

1 tsp plain flour

For the dough:

750g strong white bread flour 

1½ tsp finely ground cardamom seeds 

7g salt 

90g caster sugar 

10g fast-action dried yeast 

finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed oranges 

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons 

70g very soft unsalted butter 

450ml tepid water 

1 egg, beaten, to glaze

For the citrus glaze:

50ml orange juice 

50ml lemon juice 

50g caster sugar 

3 cardamom pods, lightly bashed

You will also need:

Plate lined with kitchen towels 

2–3 baking sheets lined with baking paper

Step 1 – Put the dried fruit in a bowl with the port. Cover with cling film and soak overnight at room temperature. 

Step 2 – The next day, make the dough. Put the flour, ground cardamom, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix thoroughly with your hand, then sprinkle the yeast on top and mix again. Add the grated orange and lemon zests to the bowl and combine. 

Step 3 – Cut the butter into small flakes and add to the bowl. Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, pour in about three quarters of the tepid water and work everything together on the slowest speed, slowly adding more of the water as needed to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. 

Step 4 – Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes, until very smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.  

Step 5 – Meanwhile, drain the soaked fruit thoroughly in a sieve, then turn out onto the lined plate. Leave for 10 minutes to get rid of any excess liquid, then tip the fruit into a clean bowl and gently toss with the teaspoon of flour to break up any clumps. 

Step 6 – Punch down the risen dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured worktop. Scatter over the fruit mixture, then knead to evenly distribute the fruit. 

Step 7 – Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each into a neat ball, then gently flatten with your fingers to make 12 perfectly round 12cm discs. Space them well apart on the lined baking sheets and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave to rise for about 40–45 minutes, until almost doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. 

Step 8 – Uncover the risen teacakes and brush the tops lightly with the egg to glaze, ensuring that no egg drips down the sides (it will make the teacakes stick). Bake for about 18–20 minutes, until a rich golden brown, rotating after the first 15 minutes for an even bake. 

Step 9 – Meanwhile, make the citrus glaze. Put the orange and lemon juices, the sugar and bashed cardamom pods into a small pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil for a couple of minutes to make a light syrup. Strain into a heatproof bowl and set aside.  

Step 10 – As soon as the teacakes are ready, remove the baking sheets from the oven and place onto a heatproof surface. Quickly brush the tops of the teacakes with the citrus syrup, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Serve with slightly salted butter.