Friday, 7 December 2012

Stollen: A Christmas Twinkle for a Dreary Day.

It is DARK, it is COLD, it is BLOWY and just generally rather horrid up here in the frozen wastelands of the north. It’s ok really, I don’t have to go anywhere, and yesterday, when I did, it was a beaut of day. But I just thought we should try extra hard to shine some light into this dreeeeary Friday...and what better light is there than sparkly, twinkly, oh so heart warming CHRISTMAS LIGHT.

Yesyes, I admit it, I’m there now, I’ve unleashed the Christmas beast and it’s all the way down the glitter hill from here. I am going to spend the next week crafting my socks off. There will be lanterns, there will be bunting, there will be cards and there will be lights, even mooore lights than usual and it will smell GREAT.

However, here I should calm down, slow down and clarify that I am indeed aware that it is still too early for some and that glitter is excluded from some peoples’ agenda, eeeeven at Christmas (though I’d keep that to yourself around here if you don’t want to be struck off numerous Christmas card lists).

So yes, I started gently, no gold or stars or fairy lights. Just a lovely understated loaf with a surprise treat inside; something that looks and feels wholly impressive without being showy and without tantrum inducing effort. You can buy them sure, you can even eat little slices for free at your local German market (probably) but homemade will taste better and look better...and you can avoid marzipan stinginess....everybody wins. With Love and Cake.

From Delia's Complete Cookery Collection

A few notes:
  • You don'y have to do the glaze thing if you don't about a giant avalanche of icing sugar instead?
  • Feel free to chop and change the types and quantities of the dried fruit...keep the overall quantity about equal but do tweak proportions according to your taste. 
  • When the stollen has gotten a bit old and stale, it if WONderful toasted and spread with butter.
Makes 1 large loaf
You will need

150ml milk, warm
50g caster sugar
2 tsp yeast
300g strong white bread flour
pinch salt
110g soft butter
1 egg, beaten
40g currants
50g sultanas
50g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and quartered
25g candied peel
25g almonds, chopped
zest 1/2 lemon
175g marzipan
110g icing sugar
juice 1/2 lemon

  • Mix the milk with 1 tsp of the caster sugar and the 2 tsps of yeast and set aside.
  • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until it is only present in fine grains.
  • Stir in the egg and the milk mixture and bring it all togther to form a dough.
  • Knead until stretchy and shiny and then form it into a tight ball and pop it back in its bowl.
  • Leave somewhere cosy to rise for around 1 hour.
  • Work the dried fruit, almonds and lemon zest into the dough until evenly distributed.
  • Roll out the dough to a 25x20cm rectangle.
  • Using your hands, roll the marzipan into a sausage shape, about the length of the rectangle of dough.
  • Place the marzian in the centre of the dough and fold it over the marzipan so it gets wrapped and transfer your log to a baking sheet; flipping it over so the join is underneath.
  • Leave to rise again for another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • Bake your stollen for 35-40 minutes until golden and filled out.
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix up the glaze be sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and stirring in as much lemon juice as it takes, starting off with 1 tablespoon, to make a smooth, fairly stiff paste.
  • While the stollen is still warm, pour the glaze over the log and let it dribble down the side as it pleases.
  • CLose the curtains, light some candles and tuck in.

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