sedgemoor easter biscuits
Updated: Mon, 22 March, 2021
Sedgemoor Easter biscuits, traditional English biscuits from Somerset in West Country, are like delicious shortbreads speckled with currants and glazed with vanilla icing.
My Easter baking repertoire recently gained a valuable new addition: Sedgemoor biscuits.
Where is Sedgemoor?
Sometimes called Somerset biscuits, they come from the West Country and appear for Easter, to be nibbled alongside chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. That is of course if anyone is able to just ‘nibble’ at chocolate eggs.
Sedgemoor is the western part of Somerset, England, the bit of the country southwest of Bath which I don’t usually think of as Somerset but it’s probably just my geography being unusually shoddy.
It's one of my favourite parts of the world, none the less because they have lovely food and drink there. Famous for Cheddar and cider already, it now turns out they do a good biscuit as well, and for Easter!
This particular recipe uses a mix of wholemeal and plain white flours. I was initially slightly dubious about its authenticity as it comes from NY Times Cooking of all places.
But I compared with some West Country recipes and the only modification discernible in the New York version was the small addition of wholemeal flour. Which I accepted and rightly so: it is a winner mix as the biscuits taste more interestingly crunchy and earthy, and less like something you might find next to your tea cup in an old-fashioned musty tea room.
As is the case with chocolate eggs at Easter, Sedgemoor biscuits too are often gifted. They should be presented in stacks of three, tied with a ribbon which makes them look rather lovely.
Easy to make
Sedgemoor biscuits are very easy to make and start their pastry life like shortbread: with butter rubbed into the flour mix. Spices and vanilla follow, and just one egg makes the dough come beautifully together.
Traditionally the Easter biscuits are studded with currants. If you prefer seedless fruit, swap them for raisins. I actually like the crunch of the pips in these cookies though generally I am the raisin/sultana kind of baker.
The dough is nice to work with and rolls out well without the otherwise statutory chill in the fridge. Cutting round or scalloped biscuits is the tradition but if you fancy Easter bunnies, butterflies or little lamb shapes, go all out.
The same goes for icing: I do restrained, Somerset-style plain vanilla icing on my biscuits but there is no reason why a drop of pink or yellow food colouring should not find its way to the glaze. Happy Easter!
sedgemoor easter biscuitsServings: 2 dozen biscuitsTime: 50 minutes
- 100g dried currants
- 20g brandy
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 120g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 110g butter, softened
- 110g caster sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, beaten
- For the icing:
- 90g icing sugar
- 4 tsp milk
1. Place the currants in a bowl or a zip lock bag, heat up the brandy in the microwave and pour it over the currants. Seal the bag or cover the bowl.
2. Mix both flours with the salt, dice in the butter and mix with an electric mixer or rub in with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Stir the spices and 1 tsp vanilla extract (leave the other tsp for the icing) into the caster sugar and add to the flour mixture. Add the egg and the currants and mix on low speed until it all just blends together – it will look very much like wet sand. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead into a ball.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment.
5. Roll it out to a disc about 1½ - 2cm thick. Using a 6cm round cookie cutter (scalloped if you have one) cut the biscuits and place on the baking sheet. They can go quite close together as they only spread a little.
6. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes until set and pale golden.
7. For the icing, mix the remaining vanilla extract into milk in a small cup, warm it up a little in the microwave and pour into a bowl with icing sugar, beating well until smooth.
8. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush them with the icing straight away. Leave them to set and brush another layer on top. Leave them to cool completely, and then tie them with a ribbon in stacks of three, if you like.