The third recipe in the Christmas series is for another festive tea-time treat: stollen.
Stollen is a traditional German fruit cake, usually eaten at Christmas-time. Whilst it’s fairly similar in content to our Christmas cake (dried fruit and candied peel), it’s made using a yeasted dough and often has a central marzipan core running through it. It’s also much lighter than our traditional Christmas cake.
The marzipan core was what really drew me to this recipe. Whilst not a huge fan of Christmas cake icing, I love the marzipan hiding below it, and with stollen you get an extra large delicious dose of marzipan with every slice! That said, for any marzipan-haters out there, you can easily leave it out.
The good thing about this recipe is that it is designed to be made in advance and left to “mature” for a few days. It makes the texture come together a little more. It also freezes very well too. Therefore you can make this well ahead of the “Christmas Day Rush”.
I’m using inverted commas there as I have never actually experienced the joy of said “Rush” yet but everyone seems to go on about it. My mother is in charge at Christmas and is admirably cool as the proverbial cucumber at all times therefore we’ve never experienced this hectic time of cooking in my family. Perhaps we should be cooking more??!
Anyway, this is a great alternative to Christmas cake, or perhaps, for the greediest amongst us, just a good accompaniment to it!
An amalgamation of a number of different recipes including Delia Smith’s and Nigel Slater’s
For the dough:
50g butter, melted
375g plain flour
7g instant yeast
150ml warm milk
50g caster sugar
Salt, a pinch
1 medium egg, beaten
For the filling:
50g undyed glace cherries, quartered
25g mixed peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g flaked almonds
1 lemon, zest
For the glaze:
20g melted butter
1. Seive the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, a pinch of salt and sugar then stir in the milk, melted butter, beaten egg. Mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon until you have a soft and shiny dough (it shouldn’t be too sticky. If it is, add a little more flour).
2. Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. As you knead it will become less and less sticky and is ready when it’s soft, elastic and not sticking to the board anymore.
3. Put the dough into a floured bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to double in size for at least an hour (it can take up to 2 hours depending how warm your house is).
4. Meanwhile mix together all of the filling ingredients in a bowl.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured surface and flatten it out into a rectangle. Cover with the fruit filling and then roll up the dough and knead to distribute the fruit evenly.
6. Flatten the dough out again into a rectangle, about 16cm x 30cm. Take your marzipan and roll it into a sausage shape which is about 30cm long. Place this across the middle of the dough, just off centre, and then fold the dough in half, sealing in the marzipan so it’s running through the middle of your loaf.
7. Put the loaf on a greased baking sheet, cover with the tea towel and leave to rise again for a further hour.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 190°c/170°c fan/gas mark 5 and bake the proved loaf for 20-25 minutes until pale gold in colour.
9. Brush the melted butter over the still-warm loaf then leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, dust liberally with icing sugar and then store in a biscuit tin or wrapped in baking parchment and clingfilm.