Measure the water into a jug, stir through the yeast and a teaspoon of the caster sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes until a foamy head begins to form on the surface. (Cooks tip: yeast, a living thing, and dried yeast needs ‘waking’ up so activating it with warm water and a little sugar acting as its food will do the trick).
In another mixing jug or small bowl, beat together the melted butter, egg and warm milk.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir through the spice, salt and the rest of the caster sugar and mix together. Next make a well in the middle and pour in the egg, milk and butter along with the foaming yeast.
Mix together with a spoon until the dough comes together in a rough ball then tip onto the work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, pushing away with the heel of your hand a rolling back towards you. It will turn stretchy and smooth. (Cooks tip: using strong flour, bread flour, has a higher gluten content - the protein that makes the dough stretchy when kneading).
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or piece of clingfilm. Set aside in a warm place to prove until the dough has doubled in size. Depending of the temperature of the room this will take and hour or two, maybe a little longer if it’s very cold.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip onto the worktop and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle over the currants and mixed peel and gently knead into the dough. Using a knife, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 6 equal sized pieces.
Gently roll each piece into a ball and lay on a baking sheet. (Cooks tip: try not to have too many raisins on the top surface, poke them underneath, as they can burn in the oven). Repeat with the remaining dough until you have 12 buns equally spaced on the baking sheet. Cover lightly with a layer of cling film, tucking it under the tray to keep the air out. Alternatively put the tray into a large plastic bag. Leave to prove again for 30-45 until the buns have risen by half.
Turn on the oven to preheat to 220°C or 200°C for a fan assisted oven.
Whilst the buns are proving for the final time, prepare the flour paste for the ‘crosses’. In a small bowl or glass mix together the flour with 4 tablespoons of cold water until you have a smooth paste. Spoon the mix into a small sandwich bag. Snip off a tiny corner of the bag and squeeze the paste into the corner creating a quick piping bag. Pipe crosses onto each bun.
Bake the buns in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Whilst they are cooking mix the caster sugar with a little boiling water until and mix until it has dissolved. As soon as you remove the buns form the oven glaze them with the sugar syrup and transfer them to a cooling rack.
Delicious served still warm with butter.