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christmas baking

Mince pies are an absolute STAPLE of the Christmas dessert table. Always the first things to go at parties, these seasonal treats are snapped up during the festive season.

They look simple enough, so why are they so intimidating to bake? Is it the mincemeat? Are we worried about pulling a Rachel Green and making a beef trifle?

Well fear not. BBC's Good Food's Orlando Murrin’s mince pie recipe is so easy, not even Rachel could mess it up!

Ingredients

225g cold butter, diced

350g plain flour

100g golden caster sugar

280g mincemeat

1 small egg, beaten

icing sugar, to dust

Directions

1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt.

2. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

3. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole.

4. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies. Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies.

5. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. Will keep frozen for up to one month.

6. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 mins until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with the icing sugar. Will keep for three to four days in an airtight container.

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Not a fan of the Christmas pudding? Candied peel and brandy just not for you?

We get it. It can be hard to make traditional Christmas food when you have kids or fussy eaters in the house – plus sometimes centuries old recipes need a little update!

This recipe has none of the waiting around watching it for four to five hours, waiting for it to cook or making it months in advance that traditional puddings demand. This chocolate biscuit ‘Christmas pudding’ cake looks traditional – but it sure doesn’t taste it! Chocked full of delicious crumbly biscuit, fluffy marshmallow, Christmassy peppermint and luxurious chocolate, this is the perfect recipe for the alternative ‘Christmas pudding’ cake!

Ingredients:

225g milk chocolate

225g dark chocolate

150g butter

225g golden syrup

300g Rich Tea biscuits, roughly crushed

70g Maltesers

3 drops of peppermint extract

30g marshmallows

To decorate:

125g ready-to-roll icing

Icing flour, to dust

Red and green food colouring

Instructions:

Step 1. Break up the chocolate into smaller parts, and then melt it together with butter and golden syrup in a bowl in a saucepan over a low heat.

Step 2. Get a standard pudding bowl, grease the inside with butter and then use cling film to line the inside.

Step 3. Carefully take your bowl with melted butter, chocolate and golden syrup off the heat, and mix with the crushed biscuits, Maltesers, marshmallows and peppermint extract.

Step 4. Empty mixture into the lined and greased bowl, making sure to press it all down to ensure it’s tightly sealed.

Step 5. Smooth over the bottom to allow it to stand evenly later.

Step 6. Put mixture in the fridge to set – this should take about 12 hours. Then turn upside down onto a suitable serving plate.

(If you experience difficulty with removal, carefully purring warm water around the bowl – avoiding the bottom, can loosen the cake.)

Step 7. Set aside a section of icing, and roll it out on a surface covered in cornflour to avoid sticking. Fashion it into a shape you like for the icing. Fix to the cake’s top with a little brush of water to make it stick.

Step 8.  Using remaining icing, section it up and dye one half red and the other green. Mix in until colours are saturated throughout and then fashion your holly and berries. Fix atop the white icing with a little bit of water.

Show us pictures in the comments of how yours worked out!

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