Christmas Stollen

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Courtesy of Jessica Maher
Photography by Jody Horton

"This has to be one of my all-time favorite desserts for a holiday or anytime. It’s light and buttery, sweet and slightly boozy. You can add just about any type of fruit or nut. Be sure to use a good dark rum, though, to soak the raisins—you’ll taste the difference. I’ve had many variations of stollen, but this recipe is simple and just about perfect. I learned from my former Austrian pastry chef mentor that the key is to dunk the freshly baked bread twice in melted butter, twice in powdered sugar and then to let it sit for at least three days before eating. And if you really want to go over the top, sauté a slice of stollen in melted butter and top with marmalade (or mincemeat!). That’s how I like to eat it!"

Note: I used Richardson Farms whole wheat flour for this recipe, which is heartier than all-purpose. If you substitute all-purpose flour, omit about 1/3 cup of milk from the recipe.

Fairly difficult

Christmas Stollen

Ingredients

For 2 Person(s)

Recipe

  • Rum Raisins:
  • 2 cups golden raisins (or dried plums, cherries, other dried fruit)
  • 2 1/2 cups Flor de Caña Rum
  • Sponge:
  • 1 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Dough:
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lemon's zest, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cups diced candied Meyer lemon peel (or orange peel)
  • Melted butter, for brushing
  • Powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting

Christmas Stollen Directions

  1. It’s best to start this recipe the day before you bake the bread. In a bowl, cover the raisins with the rum and allow to sit overnight.
  2. The next day, warm the milk to just above body temperature, pour into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Whisk until the yeast is dissolved, then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic film and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, agave nectar and salt until the mixture is a pale yellow and forms a ribbon—about 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom to combine. Add the yeast sponge and switch to the mixer’s dough hook. 
  4. Add the flour and butter and continue mixing until the dough comes together—about 5 more minutes. Roll into a ball and place in an oiled bowl.
  5. Drain the raisins (reserve the rum for another use, like a cocktail) and sprinkle them over the dough. Continue with the pecans and candied peel and push down slightly to help embed pieces. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate the fruit and nuts. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rectangle.
  7. Fold one half of the long side of each piece of dough in toward the center. Fold the other half in just over the top of the other and place on a baking sheet prepared with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. You should have 2 loaves with slightly tapered ends.
  8. Place in the oven and spray or sprinkle some water on the bottom of the oven to create steam (steam activates the yeast and helps the dough rise quickly).
  9. Bake until the loaves are brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom—about 45 minutes. Cool on wire racks, then brush loaves liberally with melted butter. Rest again for a few minutes, then brush with more butter and roll loaves in a bowl of sifted powdered sugar to coat.
  10. Let the stollen sit for at least 4 hours, or overnight, then roll in powdered sugar again. You can eat them now, but the butter and sugar will continue to soak in for a few days and make an even tastier fruit cake. 
  11. Make your own candied citrus peel by using a knife to cut strips of the peel off the fruit, then blanching them 3 times in boiling water and simmering in simple syrup for about 30 minutes, or until the peel is very soft and pliable. Dice the peel, toss it in sugar and leave out on a baking sheet to harden for at least an hour before using.

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