4 classic Christmas bakes to try at home
These tried and tested sweet bakes make for great gifts over the festive season.
Image: Carr’s Flour
There are some things that we only eat at Christmas that make them truly special treats at this time of year. The baking buffs at Carr’s Flour have the perfect foursome of classic Christmas baking recipes to try – whether you make them for your own family, or to hand out as gifts!
- Prep: 3 hours 20 minutes
- Bake: 1 hour
An Italian sweet bread that will create a lovely gift at Christmas or to share with friends.
- 500g Carr’s Strong White Flour
- 5g Salt
- 50g Golden Caster Sugar
- 2x7g sachets Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 150ml Milk
- 5 Eggs
- 250g unsalted Butter
- 80g chopped Glacé Cherries
- 80g Sultanas
- 80g Currants
- I tsp Aroma Panettone Essential oil – if you can track it down this adds a depth of traditional Italian flavour
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle
1. Mix flour, sugar, yeast, salt, eggs and milk in a mixer using a dough hook at slow speed for 2 or 3 minutes and then on medium setting for 8 minutes to create a soft dough.
2. Add room temperature softened butter and mix for another 6 minutes.
3. Then add the dried fruit and mix together.
4. Put the dough into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and prove overnight in a cold place or in the fridge to develop the complex flavours of the panettone.
5. When you are ready to cook the panettone, preheat the oven to 180ºC (Fan 160ºC, Gas Mark 4) and brush the inside of an 18cm panettone tin with melted butter.
6. With floured hands take the dough from the bowl, knead gently to ‘knock back’ and shape into a ball, then put it into the panettone tin.
7. Prove the dough in the tin at room temperature for 2-3 hours – it will rise to the top of the tin.
8. Egg wash the top of the panettone with a soft brush and place in the centre of the oven to bake for about 25 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 150°C (Fan 130°C, Gas Mark 2) and bake for 30 minutes – check with a skewer.
9. Take the panettone from the tin, sprinkle lightly with demerara sugar and allow to cool.
Cranberry and almond biscotti
Image: Carr’s Flour
A lovely tasty treat, that would be great as a gift.
- 260g Carr’s Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 150g Granulated Sugar
- 3 Eggs (beaten)
- 50g Almonds (chopped into small pieces)
- 50g Dried Cranberries
- ½ tbsp Almond Extract
1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (Fan 140°C, Gas Mark 2) and line a baking tray with parchment.
2. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the beaten egg, (you may not need all of it) until it forms a dough. Add the almonds, cranberries and almond extract, mixing thoroughly.
3. Roll out on a floured surface and make into a log roughly 35cm long and 8cm wide.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes and cool. Cut into approx. 2cm thick diagonal slices. Place them onto the baking tray cut side up and bake for a further 10 minutes on each side. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
5. Once cooled you can decorate them with chocolate and crushed nuts.
6. To enjoy, dip them in a cup of coffee or tea. Alternatively, they are perfect wrapped up in small bags, tied with ribbon and given as a tasty gift!
Star mince pies
Image: Carr’s Flour
- Prep: 45 minutes
- Bake: 10 minutes
- Makes 12
There’s nothing better than home-made mince pies – we promise the taste will make it worth the effort!
- 170g Carr’s Plain Flour
- a pinch of Salt
- 100g Butter
- 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 2 tbsp cold Water
- Ready made Icing or Marzipan
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (Fan 160°C, Gas Mark 4)
2. To make the sweet shortcrust pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut cold butter into small pieces, rub into the flour and then add the sugar.
3. Stir the egg yolk into the water and gently add to the other ingredients with the blade of a knife.
4. Gently work together by hand and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Then roll out the pastry and cut 12 round shapes to fit your shallow 12-hole pastry tin.
6. Grease the tin and put the cut pastry into each hole, add a teaspoonful of your favourite mincemeat and bake for around 10 mins. Watch carefully as the sweet pastry can burn.
7. Roll out the white icing or marzipan or a combination of both for more indulgence. Then cut out 12 stars with a cutter, and place on top of the mince pies when cooled.
8. Try toasting the marzipan star with a chef’s blowtorch for a decorative finish.
Image: Carr’s Flour
- Prep: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Prove: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Bake: 45 minutes
Try making your own Stollen for a seasonal treat full of Christmas flavours.
- 160ml Milk, warmed to 45°C
- 1x7g sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 350g Carr’s Strong White Flour
- 75g Caster Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 100g unsalted Butter, softened
- 100g Dried Sour Cherries
- 50g Currants
- 50g Sultanas
- 175g Mixed Peel
- 200g good quality Marzipan
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Icing Sugar for the topping
1. Lightly grease a baking tray. Sift the flour, caster sugar and salt into a large bowl, then rub in the butter to make a fine crumb texture. Make a well in the centre of the ingredients, add the yeast, then gently stir in the milk to make a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the fruit. Knead for about ten minutes to create a smooth even texture.
2. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to prove for one hour – it will double in volume.
3. Gently knock back the dough and tip it onto a floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to make a 20 x 10cm rectangle. Roll the marzipan into a rope a little shorter than the long side of the flat dough and place it in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal.
4. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. While the loaf is proving, preheat your oven to 180°C (Fan 160°C, Gas Mark 4).
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 150°C (Fan 130°C, Gas Mark 2) and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven and cover the loaf with a cloth and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
7. Dust the cooled loaf well with icing sugar, sprinkle over a little cinnamon for a spicy finishing touch.
Are you going to do some Christmas baking this year? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.