Christmas Stollen

I love walking into the house and finding Victor in the kitchen.  It always means we’re in for a gastronomic treat.  I tend to get most of the credit for cooking, but Victor is a fantastic cook.  It’s not unlike when Ruth and I worked together.  Being the showman, I tended to get a lot of the credit for things, but it was Ruth who consistently came up with the brilliant ideas.

And it happens at home, too.  Victor and I are very different cooks, but we’re fortunate that we like to do different things.  We have different “patience levels”  and generally complement one another’s styles.

Walking into the kitchen, I was greeted with a very slowly-rising Christmas Stollen!  I love stollen but hadn’t made my favorite Stollen recipe from our friend Luigi this year.  That recipe makes about 8 loaves.  Victor found another recipe online and decided to give a single loaf a try.

I had a container of fruitcake fruit – I hadn’t made my fruitcakes or Christmas Pudding, either – so he used that along with some raisins.

It came out fantastic!

The recipe calls for a marzipan center.  We did have almond paste in the cabinet – for the amaretti I didn’t make – but he decided to go without.

It was perfect, nonetheless.

The original recipe comes from the Dorchester Hotel in London…   Victor’s heading off to London in a couple of weeks and will be staying in Mayfair not far from the Dorchester…  (I’m not jealous.  Really. I’m. Not. Jealous.)  But I digress…  Perhaps he can pop in and see if they have any available at High Tea…  Or something.

(DEEP breath… Not  jealous. Not jealous. Not jealous…)

Christmas Stollen

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup sultana raisins
  • 1/3 cup red candied cherries, quartered
  • 2/3 cup diced candied citron
  • 6 ounces marzipan
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, white sugar, salt, butter, and 2 cups bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, raisins, dried cherries, and citrus peel. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack. Dust the cooled loaf with confectioners’ sugar, and sprinkle with the cinnamon.

It’s a very dense dough and doesn’t rise the same way as a traditional yeast bread does, so don’t panic if it’s not looking exactly how you think it should.

It should still come out just fine.

We had two power outages while this was in the oven and it still came out perfect!