Wednesday 19 December 2012

Emneth Worthies

If you type Emneth Worthies into a search engine, no sign of the original recipe for these delicious seasonal breads comes up, believe me I have tried. despite scouring the archive here at Hagbech Hall I have failed to find the recipe. It's certainly true that there hasn't been an Emneth Worthy for sale here in Emneth for over 50 years and I doubt if there is anyone still living in the village who can remember them.

I was reading a description of them, "A light bread sweetened with dried fruit and sweet wine, enriched with sweet butter and fresh eggs", to my friend Serjanus D'Umty when he pointed out that they resemble my brioche and surely I could modify the recipe. Here is the result of a bit of tweaking, and if mince pies and mulled wine are the sustaining treats while wrapping Christmas presents, Emneth Worthies and a large cup of Illy Coffee are certainly the choice for unwrapping them.

You will need:
500g of Strong White Flour
325g of unsalted butter
40g of sugar
6 eggs
50ml of warm milk
7g sachet of fast action yeast
9g of salt
100g of dried fruit and candied orange peel
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 teaspoons of Disaronno Amaretto liquer

Begin by mixing the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, milk and eggs together to form a dough, then gradually add softened butter. I have the food mixer on full speed while the dough hook whips the dough, incorporating each 25g of butter before adding the next piece. Finally add the fruit and glacé peel, I used golden glacé cherries cut into pieces, golden sultanas and glacé orange peel, then add the vanilla Disaronno. leave the douhg to rise at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. The dough should have more than doubled in size and as soon as you knock it back it will colapse completely, cover and place the dough in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours. Placing the dough in the fridge not only develops flavour but firms up the dough considerably, allowing it then to be portioned into 12 equal sized balls. Place each ball in muffin tins lined with large muffin cases. leave to rise for another 3 to 4 hours at which point they again should have more than doubled in size. Bake in a moderate to hot oven, 190 degrees C for 17 minutes at which point they should be a good golden brown colour.
Poppy asleep in the wrapping paper
Worthies once again in Emneth

I will soak the sultanas in the liquer the next time I make these in order to make the fruit more moist.
See second batch


  1. I wonder if dark rum would be acceptable to soak the fruit in? I might give these little buns a try when I am making my stollen. Thank you for this recipe for a bread that I would otherwise never have heard of :)

  2. Dear Tobi,
    This is the most Christmassy thing I have seen this season. I can catch the smell of them as you break them open all the way across the flat lands to Cambridge. Thank you for your legendary powers of creation. All love. P

  3. Is this a typo "Bake in a moderate to hot oven, 290 degrees C......" ? 290 celsius is far from "moderate".

  4. Hello again Ivana, of course you are right, 290 is wrong, I have now corrected the post, thank you for pointing it out. I am looking forward to baking my first batch of Emneth Worthies on Monday morning when my daughter and partner come home for Christmas. I hope you have a great Christmas, best wishes, Tôbi


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