Make the Ferment Starter:
1. Combine the beaten egg with enough warm water to give approximately ½ pint of liquid.
2. Whisk in the yeast, sugar and flour, cover and put in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Make the buns:
1. Sieve the flour, salt and spice into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and put the sugar and lemon zest in the well. Pour on the ferment starter.
2. Gradually draw in the flour and mix vigorously, then knead to a smooth, elastic dough.
3. Carefully work in the mixed dried fruit.
4. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a warm, greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
5. Turn out the dough and knead to knock out any air bubbles and give an even texture.
6. Shape it into a ball again, put back into the bowl, cover and put back to rise for another 30 minutes.
7. Turn out the dough and divide into 12 even pieces. Shape them into buns and leave to rest for a few minutes covered with the tea towel.
8. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet.
9. Slightly flatten each bun and then cut into quarters, cutting almost all the way through the dough, so that as each bun rises, it has a well-marked cross on it.
9. Grease a large polythene bag and place the tray with the buns in it and tie the end. Put in a warm place and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, heat oven to 240C.
Make a paste for the crosses on the buns:
1. Mix the plain flour and 2 tbsp cold water until it is soft enough to pipe through a nozzle.
2. Remove buns from the polythene bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
3. Bake the buns for 8 -12 minutes or until risen and golden.
4. Brush the buns with hot golden syrup as soon as they are ready. Cool on a wire rack.