Christmas Stollen

Adapted from Cooking Light, November 1999

Give yourself plenty of time when making this.  While the hands-on time is relatively short and the work easy, there is a lot of resting time in this recipe (several hours plus an overnight rise, and cooling time after baking).  

3 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon cherry juice

1 cup mixed dried cherries, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and currants

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)

3 1/2 cups flour, divided

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup sliced almonds

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

7 oz. box of marzipan

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the brandy, cherry juice, and dried fruit.  Stir and let the fruit marinate for 1 hour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and warm water.  Let this sit for five minutes, or until bubbly.  Turn the mixer on low and strain the liquid from the fruit into the bowl, then add 1 1/2 cups flour, milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg.  Increase the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for 2 minutes, until combined.  Add the fruit, almonds, zests, cardamom, and an additional 1 1/2 cups flour and continue to mix for 6 minutes.  With the mixer still on, add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a second metal bowl that has been lightly greased.  Turn the dough to coat the top.  Cover with a clean towel and set the dough in a warm, draft free place to rise for two hours.  The dough will not double, but an indentation should remain when you push two fingers into the dough when it is ready.  Punch the dough down and let it rest for five minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a greased baking pan and stretch the dough into a large oval, about 13 x 8 inches.  Cut the marzipan in half length-wise and put the two pieces end-to end in the center of the dough.  Fold the two long sides over the marzipan, seal the ends, and flip the loaf over, reshaping it as needed (it should now be about 12 x 4 inches oval).  Cover with a layer of saran wrap and a towel, and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, take the baking pan out and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes, then brush with butter and sift powdered sugar over the top of the bread.

Belle of the Kitchen