3 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 Tablespoons granulated (white) sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup raisins or currants, soaked in water for a few ours to plump up, drained and patted well dry
1 large egg
3/4 cup cold buttermilk, plus extra if needed and for brushing tops
Preheat oven to 425◦F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the first dry ingredients. Cut in the butter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Make a well in the center. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and add to the well, mixing with a fork until just moistened.
Pour the scrappy dough onto a work surface and knead lightly just to form into a one inch thick or so round mass. Do not overwork the dough. Add a little extra buttermilk, a Tablespoon at a time, if needed. Cut with a round floured biscuit cutter or glass.
Transfer to prepared baking sheet, and brush tops with buttermilk.
Bake for about 15 minutes until biscuits are golden brown and firm.
Let cool, then pipe on crosses (just use a little icing sugar, vanilla, and water).
I really like this tea biscuit recipe, and it is quite easy to do. The trick to this is to handle the dough as little as possible - no kneading! It has a nice flavor and texture, and is full of juicy raisins. They are especially good warm. I thought I was doing very well, but then ended up forgetting the spices in the biscuits. The spices are not necessary if you are just making biscuits, but if you are trying to imitate hot cross buns they are. So I just added a little cinnamon and a pinch of cloves to the icing, which is what gives it its brownish color.