LAWRENCE MURPHY: A West Country treat for Easter

I once read that oil of cassia was used in the making of Easter biscuits because it was supposedly used in the embalming of Christ's body. It is also referred to as Holy Christ Oil.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 3:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:38 am
Easter biscuits made with oil of cassia
Easter biscuits made with oil of cassia

  But  I believe it  was used in the biscuits because they originate from the Bristol area where the oil came in from Sri Lanka via the port.

The oil is made from a similar bark to that of cinnamon.

Years ago cinnamon was quite expensive and difficult to get hold of which led to bakers using the oil as a substitute.

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The oil is now much harder to get than cinnamon so I use ground cinnamon in this recipe.

The biscuits are a traditional West Country treat given out on Easter Sunday.  


80g butter

60g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

Zest 1/2 lemon

175g plain flour

Teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

30g currants

Caster sugar for dusting


1 Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and fluffy

2 Add the cinnamon and nutmeg

3 Beat in the egg yolks

4 Add the currants and flour and combine to make a dough

5 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board and, using a cutter,  cut into 16 rounds

6 Put onto a baking tray and cook in a prehea ted oven at 200C, gas 6, for about 10 minutes until golden  

7 Remove from the oven and dust with caster sugar