Merry Christmas Everybody!
Another year gone already? What better way to finish the year than with a spectacular Christmas Stollen. Yes, it is a few days past Christmas, but I have been filled with such cheer and goodwill that I missed my posting deadline.
Stollen is a fruit filled bread-like cake made with yeast and sometimes filled with marzipan.
The detailed recipe with quantities can be found here on the Daring Bakers site, but an abbreviated version of my recipe is below.
Dried fruit gives the flavour to a Stollen and therefore is the most important part. Any fruit can be used, from currants and raisins to mixed peel, cherries, mango or ginger; select your favourites. You will need about 2 cups of fruit all up.
I chose to use sultanas, dried apricots and pineapple. I like to use these little packs as the unused fruit stays fresher longer.
I also threw in some dried apple.
The fruit needs to be soaked overnight for softness in about ¼ cup alcohol. Rum is the best choice, but using what I had on hand, I tried vanilla vodka and apple juice.
To make the bread dough, you will need basic pantry items: milk, caster sugar, plain flour, salt, butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, a lemon and orange. You will also need 2 packets of dried yeast sachets, these can be found in the flour section of the supermarket.
Tip two packets (14g) of dried yeast into ¼ cup of lukewarm water and leave for five minutes to activate and go bubbly.
Melt butter into milk in a small saucepan over a low heat. Leave to sit until lukewarm.
Lightly beat together eggs, vanilla extract, lemon and orange juice.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and zests of orange and lemon.
Stir in yeast mixture, eggs, and milk/butter mixture until mix comes together in a tacky ball. Cover with plastic and leave to sit for 10 mins.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, then tip out all the soaked fruit on top.
Now, as a pre-Christmas work out, knead the fruit into the dough and keep going for about 8 mins.
Think of the how good the upper body exercise is, and how many more rumballs you will be able to eat! :D (You could use a machine, but that's cheating.)
You will know when to stop when the dough becomes tacky and the sultanas start falling off.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave overnight in the fridge to rise.
The next day, punch back the dough, and tip out onto a floured surface. At this stage I divided the dough into two balls to make two stollen. Roll out into a large rectangle, one centimetre thick.
Using almond icing or marzipan, roll out thin strips and place at intervals along the dough.
Roll into a long sausage shape, and then curl into a circle.
Cut knicks out of the dough at 6cm intervals and shape to form a wreath.
Leave to proof for 2 hours.
Bake for 40-50mins at 180°c until dark brown in colour.
While hot, brush the stollen with melted butter and allow to soak in.
Sift icing sugar over the top and allow to sink in, repeating three times to build up a protective coating.
Serve as thin slices with butter and a cup of tea, or wrap and store for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! :)