Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stollen Moments..

No matter how busy you are, it’s worth finding time to bake this traditional German festive bread packed with fruit, nuts and marzipan. Make one to give and one to keep, says Joanna Farrow.

Preparation time :
About 1 hour, plus proving
Cooking time :
15 minutes to 20 minutes
Total time :
1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes

Makes: 10 individual stollen


75g raisins75g sultanas25g mixed peel50g glacé cherries, chopped50g blanched almonds, choppedFinely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons10 cardamom pods, crushed and shells removed¼ tsp ground nutmeg1 tbsp vanilla extract375g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting1 sachet dried yeast50g caster sugar1 medium egg, beaten65g unsalted butter, melted150ml warm milk, plus 1-2 tbsp, if needed200g white marzipanIcing sugar, for dustingMelted butter, for greasing


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. Using a round-bladed knife, 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.
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, gas mark 5. Grease the insides of the moulds with butter. Line each mould with baking parchment – the base with circles and the sides with strips. (Don’t worry about doing this too neatly.) Trim off the excess around the tops with scissors.
Cut the marzipan and the dough into 10 even-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, flatten out a piece of dough to make a 13 x 6cm rectangle. Then take a piece of marzipan and make a slightly smaller rectangle, and place it on top of the dough. Roll them together, starting from a short end, then drop the mixture into a mould. Repeat with the rest of the dough and marzipan pieces.
Place the moulds on a baking sheet, covering the tops with a piece of clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes, until the dough fills the moulds and rises well above the rims.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining melted butter and leave to cool. Remove the mini stollen from the dariole moulds.

Cook's tips
Once the cooled mini stollen, still in their baking parchment cases, have been removed from the dariole moulds, place them in clean small buckets or terracotta flower pots. Dust generously with icing sugar, then wrap in Cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Alternatively, wrap each mini stollen in Cellophane and finish with ribbon and a gift label, or place in a small gift box, lined with tissue paper.

Kitchen tools
10 x 125ml dariole moulds10 small galvanised buckets, the same size as the moulds or 10 terracotta flower pots (optional), thoroughly washed and dried CellophaneRed or white ribbon to decorate


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