Currant Tea Biscuits

These little gems should be made by hand – literally – from rubbing the butter into small bits with your fingers to adding the milk. It’s messy, but fun!

Ingredients Full Recipe (makes about 16 biscuits)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons milk to brush on top

Ingredients Half Recipe (makes about 8 biscuits)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon milk to brush on top

Instructions for Currant Tea Biscuits

About an hour before making this recipe, cut the butter into small pieces and chill them in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Soak currants in warm water for about 5 minutes to plump them up. Drain off excess water.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers. Rub your hands together around the mixture inside the bowl to gradually reduce the butter into small, evenly distributed bits. The butter should be in small pieces about twice the size of the plumped up currants.

Add currants and mix until they are coated.

Mix in milk with your hands until the dough just comes together. (My great-grandmother always advised that you can’t ruin biscuits before you add the milk, but when you add the milk it is vital that you don’t over mix – this is where the biscuits can become tough if over mixed!)

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide dough into 2.

Shape each half of the dough into a round and flatten to about 3/4 inch thick with your hands. Either use a biscuit cutter to cut out individual biscuits OR simply put each round on a parchment-lined baking sheet and use a knife to cut each round into 8 pieces, but keep all pieces together in the round. Brush biscuits with milk for a crusty top.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes if cut into individual biscuits, or 30 to 35 minutes if making 2 large rounds. The tops should be evenly browned. Serve in a cloth-lined basket to keep biscuits warm but not soggy.