08 December 2008

The Traditional German Christmas Cake
Like many traditional dishes that originated in the country kitchens of Europe, there are as many recipes as there are cooks. So feel free to change this one. Although there seems to be a rather daunting list of ingredients and directions, stollen is really just a sweet bread mix with marzipan in the centre. If pressed for time, one of the easiest things is to substitute the list of dried fruits for the appropriate weight from a packet of assorted dried fruits and peel.

Recipe Enough For Two Loaves
This recipe makes two stollen loaves, which will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. If you are making them to give as gifts, write the expiry date on the tags. The stollen also freeze very well; thaw overnight and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving for afternoon or morning teas, or for a special dessert.

Traditional Christmas Stollen

40 g dried yeast
700 grammes of warm plain flour
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
110 g sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
250 g soft butter
300 g raisins
125 g currants
150 g mixed candied peel, chopped
4 tablespoons rum
Zest from one large lemon
150 g roughly chopped blanched almonds
1 teaspoon salt
250 packet of white marzipan
250 g melted butter, to brush on the stollen after baking
Icing sugar to dust
1. Mix together the yeast and 150 ml of warm water
2. Put the flour and spices in a large bowl and mix
3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture
4. Sprinkle it with a little flour, and leave to activate for 15 minutes
5. Mix the sugar and eggs in another bowl
6. Add to the flour mix, then add the butter
7. Mix everything together until it forms into a dough
8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for five minutes until smooth
9. Add a little more flour if the mix is too wet, or more water if it is too dry
10. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size – about two hours
11. Put the dried fruit and mixed peel into a bowl with the rum and leave to soak
12. After the dough has risen, turn onto a lightly floured board, and stretch into a rectangle 25 x 35 cm
13. Tip the fruit mix, the zest, the almonds, and the salt into the middle
14. Knead well until the fruit is spread through the dough
15. Divide the dough into two pieces
16. Also cut the marzipan roll into half, and roll each piece into a length of 25 cm
17. Shape the dough into two ovals approximately 30 cm
18. Press a rolling pin down the middle of the dough to make a trough
19. Put the marzipan into the trough, and fold the dough over it
20. Put the loaves onto a sheet, cover and leave to rest and rise for an hour
21. Put in the preheated oven – 180 C – and bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
22. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then brush with the melted butter, using it all. This keeps the bread fresh for longer, and gives it a richer texture
23. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar
24. Serve plain in thin slices, or with whipped cream.