A delicious yeasted cake with a log of marzipan hidden inside. Like all yeasted cakes, Stollen takes a bit of time to make, but I can assure you it is worth the effort.
Stollen has been a regular on our Christmas table for many years and for me is now as much a part of Christmas as mince pies. I might even go as far as to say that it is easier to make than mince pies.
To be fair, mince pies are not hard to make but they do take a fair bit of hands on time. So I tend to make larger mince pies for sharing. I also love this fabulous pear and mincemeat pie. Less fiddly than making individual pies, and the addition of pear makes it less sweet.
You could also make it with apple, either way, it is scrummy. Incidentally, if you are making mince pies, don't forget it is worth making your own homemade mincemeat. They will taste all the better for it.
But enough about mince pies! this post is about Stollen. Yes it takes longer to make than mince pies but a lot of that time the dough is left alone to the rise, so you can get on with other things while that happens. .
As it is an enriched dough (with added butter and egg) it will keep for several days, but it is particularly good on the day it is made, and at its very best while still warm from the oven. This year I have discovered that Stollen tastes amazing lightly toasted. Why has it taken me this long to discover that?
A little Stollen history
Invented in Dresden, where a huge stollen is traditionally paraded through the streets at the annual Stollenfest, Stollen has been around since the 15th century. Originally known as Striezel, it was not until 1647 that the dough was enriched with butter.
Today's stollen is sweeter and the dough is studded with almonds, dried fruit, mixed peel, marzipan and often with Christmassy spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. I have given this Stollen it a bit of a modern twist by using dried cranberries and blueberries along with some hand chopped candied peel and hazelnuts.
I have not added the spices but by all means, feel free to. If you want to be more traditional, use mixed dried fruit instead of the cranberries and blueberries. I also like mine not too sweet, so have not added too much sugar to the recipe. It can be finished lightly (my preference) or even heavily dusted with icing sugar or with a thin water glacé icing.
Step by step how to make stollen
- 500 g strong plain flour
- 50 g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp easy-blend yeast
- 200 ml lukewarm milk
- 1 egg beaten
- 100 g butter melted plus extra for brushing
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 50 g dried cranberries
- 50 g dried blueberries
- 75 g mixed peel chopped
- 50 g hazelnuts coarsely chopped
- 250 g marzipan
- icing sugar to dust
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir in the yeast.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, egg and butter. Mix to form a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place in a oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
- Combine the orange zest,cranberries, blueberries, peel and hazelnuts together. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and gradually knead in the fruit mixture until fully combined.
- Roll out to a rectangle about 20 x 25 cm (8 x 10 in). Roll the marzipan into a log a little shorter than the rectangle and place in the middle. Fold the dough over the log and pinch ends together.
- Place on an oiled baking sheet, cover with oiled cling wrap and allow to rise again for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180℃/ 160℃ fan/gas mark 4 (350°F).
- Bake for 30–40 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Brush with a little extra melted butter and sprinkle with icing sugar.