Guest post by Rachel, who has been blogging about family life for almost a decade. Her blog www.marvellousmrsp.com features recipes, crafts, styling and travel – all with a vintage twist. Wife to Phill, Mum to Beth and Dorothy and wrangler of far too many cats and dogs, you can also follow Rachel’s adventures on instagram and facebook.
As a family we have rather wholesome vices. We like to eat out and we love to travel. We don’t smoke, seldom drink and I certainly don’t have a wardrobe full of designer handbags – but we’ve been known to go all the way to Italy for lunch (true story).
From our travels we always bring back an edible souvenir or two and save them to enjoy over Christmas. I get such a rush of excitement, opening up forgotten treats and remembering our adventures.
Sadly this year there have been no adventures but we can still go on culinary trips by indulging in the festive fayre of different countries. Here is a classic German recipe which just perfectly encapsulates the smells and flavours of Christmas markets.
The proof is in the proving with this recipe and you’re going to prove this dough three times! It might seem like a lot but it’s as much to make the dough easy to work with as it is to create the right texture. This is the perfect bake for those days when you’re pottering around the house getting lots of jobs done. It just needs you to pop back now and again.
You will need
- 80g mixed dried fruit
- 20g mixed peel
- 70g yeast (one sachet)
- 250g plain flour
- 150 ml apple juice (not the cloudy sort)
- 10g melted unsalted butter
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 30 grams blanched almonds
- 80 grams marzipan
- In a small pan, gently warm the apple juice and add the yeast. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.
- In a small bowl combine the dried fruit and mixed peel and then cover with 100 ml warm water.
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl.
- Once the yeast is bubbling, pour the mixture into the flour and mix until fully combined. This will become a dough, but at first it will seem very dry.
- Place in the fridge to prove overnight. If you need a quicker turnaround, simply leave the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this should take 1-2 hours. I’ve tried both methods and the results are pretty much the same.
- Once it’s doubled in size, knead the dough lightly.
- Drain the dried fruit and peel and add to the dough. You’ll need to almost push the fruit into the dough. This will result in a sloppy mess at first, but keep going. Eventually the fruit will stay in the dough, I promise.
- Return the dough to the bowl and leave in a warm place to rise again for around half an hour.
- In the meantime, roll the marzipan into small sausage shapes.
- Once the dough has risen for a second time, stretch it out and lay the almonds and marzipan on top.
- Fold the dough over the almonds and marzipan and continue to fold again and again until they are incorporated.
- Prepare a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and form the dough into a loaf shape.
- Leave the dough on the baking tray to prove for a final time.
- After half an hour of proving, bake at 180 / gas mark 4 for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 140 / gas mark 1.
- Bake for up to another 20 minutes at this temperature – keep a very close eye on the colour as it may burn otherwise.
- Test the bake by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean then it’s ready.
- Remove from the oven and while the stollen is still warm, brush with the melted butter and dust liberally with icing sugar.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Stollen keeps for months if stored properly. This is ideal for Christmas 2020 as we won’t be having those big, bustling parties where whole bakes can disappear in the blink of an eye. Mind you, I find it difficult to hold back from eating a whole Stollen once the loaf is sliced!