Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dad's Christmas Stollen

This makes six loaves of the German-style Christmas bread, each enough to serve six or eight people, with coffee. Dad makes the big batch because they freeze well and make good Christmas gifts for people like the choir director, the neighbor who checks the mail for you while you’re away and the kids’ piano teacher.
“Keep one for yourself, and have five good friends,” he suggests.
2 pkgs. Active dry yeast (or equivalent)
½ cup warm water
2 cups milk, scalded
1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, melted (can melt it in the scalded milk)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cardamon
8 cups, approx.., sifted all-purpose flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups seedless raisins, black or white or both
½ cup currants*
½ cup chopped, mixed candied fruit*
4 Tbs grated orange peel
2 Tbs grated lemon peel
½ cup chopped, blanched almonds (
More candied fruit to decorate
For the glaze: 2 cups confectioners sugar, 4 Tbs. milk and a dash of salt.
*can use dried fruit such as cranberries “rehydrated” in simple syrup, make your own candied lemon and orange peel in simple syrup. Candied pineapple is nice but pieces need to be chopped up smaller than the chunks it usually comes in
Combine milk, butter, sugar, salt and cardamom and set aside to cool. Cool to lukewarm. When lukewarm, stir in four cups of the flour. Beat well. Add softened yeast and eggs and beat well. Stir in raisins, candied fruits, peels and nuts.
Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, eight to 10 minutes. (Really knead that dough; besides making the bread better, it will help you get rid of the tension of Christmas shopping.)
Place dough in large greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover and let rise in warm place to double size (1-1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down.
Turn out on lightly floured surface. Divide into six equal parts. Cover with towel and let rest 10 minutes.
Roll each part into an oval (about 10 inches long by 6 inches wide) to about 3/8 inch thick. Take one end and fold it over to within about an inch of the other end. This is what gives it the “stollen” shape.
Place stollen on a greased baking sheet. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm place until almost double, about an hour.
Bake in moderate oven (375) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with glaze (see below). Decorate with cut up candied cherries, candied pineapple and citron, or any combination of the above, or with your home-made candied fruit if you are avoiding artificial coloring and flavoring.
Glaze: Mix 2 cups confectioners sugar, 4 Tablespoons milk and a dash of salt. Stir into thin glaze.

Serve in slices and provide plenty of butter. Frozen stollen can thaw in about half an hour at room temperature, or they can be wrapped in foil and heated in the oven.
Here's how they look as they came out of the oven and are cooling off. Do not try to ice them when they aren't cool -- the icing will soak in and or drip completely off. Even after they cool, I will put a tray or waxed paper underneath to catch drips.

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This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.