The Mail on Sunday - You - - Food Festive Cheer -

MAKES 1 TRAY FOR SLIC­ING Pre­heat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. But­ter a 23cm brownie tin (or equiv­a­lent) then line the base and sides with bak­ing pa­per, snip­ping the cor­ners so the sides sit flat. Into a large bowl, sift 25g co­coa pow­der and 1 rounded tsp bak­ing pow­der. Stir in 100g ch­est­nut flour, 100g ground al­monds and 100g de­mer­ara sugar then set aside. In a large bowl set over a pan con­tain­ing a lit­tle sim­mer­ing wa­ter, gen­tly melt 200g dark choco­late (about 70 per cent) with 150g un­salted but­ter. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla ex­tract and 2 tbsp dark rum (this is op­tional). In an­other large bowl whisk 4 medium eggs with 100g ic­ing sugar for 4-5 min­utes un­til pale, moussey and sev­eral times the vol­ume. Lightly fold the choco­late mix­ture into the eggs in two goes, tak­ing care not to over mix. Fold in the dry in­gre­di­ents in two goes and trans­fer the mix­ture to the pre­pared tin. Bake for 30-40 min­utes or un­til a skewer in­serted at the cen­tre emerges with a few sticky crumbs. Leave to cool then cover and chill overnight. Re­move from the tin and peel off the pa­per. Dust with ic­ing sugar and a lit­tle co­coa and cut into 3cm-4cm squares (or larger if you wish). MAKES 6 Chill a bot­tle of cham­pagne, pros­ecco or other sparkling wine. Place 200g cran­ber­ries with 2 tbsp caster sugar and 150ml sieved fresh or­ange juice or cle­men­tine juice in a small pan and bring to the boil. Cover and sim­mer over a low heat for 5 min­utes un­til soft then press through a fine sieve and leave to cool. You should have about 200ml of runny purée. Cover and chill. When ready to serve, give the purée a stir then spoon a gen­er­ous ta­ble­spoon­ful into six flutes and fill up with bub­bles. Dec­o­rate to your lik­ing. MAKES 6 Chill a bot­tle of sparkling wine or cider. Purée 200g black­ber­ries with 2 tbsp caster sugar in a blender then press through a fine sieve into a bowl. Cover and chill for a cou­ple of hours. Di­vide the purée among six glasses (about 1 tbsp in each), fill up with fizz and dec­o­rate with ex­tra black­ber­ries if wished.

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