One of the things I love to do at the holidays is BAKE! This is the first place I’ve lived in about 10 years that is warm enough to proof yeast dough and I have a baking station all set up in the kitchen. Our fold-out table is right in front of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and I have all of my flour, yeast and sugar right next to it. I printed off my recipe, blue-tacked it to the shelf and away I went.
I made Stollen for the first time. Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during Christmastime. The cake is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. The shape of the cake was originally meant to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.
- 75g raisins
- 75g sultanas
- 25g mixed peel
- 50g glacé cherries, chopped
- 50g blanched almonds, chopped
- Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
- 10 cardamom pods, crushed and shells removed
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 375g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 sachet dried yeast (7g)
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 65g unsalted butter, melted
- 150ml warm milk, plus 1-2 tbsp, if needed
- 200g white marzipan
- Icing sugar, for dusting
In a bowl, mix together the raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries, almonds, lemon zest, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Cover and leave to stand while making the dough.
Put the flour, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, 50g of the melted butter and 150ml milk. Mix the ingredients to form a dough. If the dough feels dry and crumbly, add a further 1-2tbsp milk. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough using a free-standing mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5 minutes.) Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1¼ hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
Steve and I made these shelves above our water boiler and the temperature is 80° Fahrenheit, perfect for proofing yeast dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Gradually knead in the fruit mixture until it is evenly distributed through the dough. (Don’t worry if the dough becomes soft, sticky and slightly messy to handle at this stage.) Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/400°F. Grease a large baking sheet. Shape the marzipan into a log, 30cm long, and set aside. Roll out the dough to a 30 x 16cm rectangle. Place the marzipan log on top of the dough, slightly to one side of the centre. Dampen the wider side of the dough with water, then fold it over the marzipan, pressing it down gently on the other side, to secure. Transfer to the baking sheet. Cover with lightly greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and pale golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining melted butter. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cool, dust generously with icing sugar and serve.
I made Viennese coffee to have with the Stollen for Christmas eve breakfast.
Viennese Kaffee mit Schlag
- 1 tablespoon double cream
- 1 oz/30g dark chocolate
- 1 cup coffee
- Whipped cream
Mix the heavy cream and chocolate in a medium heavy saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Slowly whisk in the hot coffee. Pour into cups and top with whipped cream and cinnamon.