Thursday, 13 October 2011

Festive Stollen

This is a very detailed recipe, not because it is difficult but because it needs care and attention. Stollen is a German bread baked at Christmas time. It has a  rich buttery crust and the marzipan in the centre is a real surprise. I suggest that you time the rising to coincide with school runs or a large basket of ironing! Two jobs at once.

Recipe adapted from the Kenwood Chef Recipe book

Yield 1 Large loaf

200g Dried mixed fruit
4tbsp Dark rum
400g Strong plain flour
½ tsp salt
50g Caster sugar
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
7g Sachet fast action dried yeast
50g Butter, melted
140ml Warm milk
1 Medium egg
50g Chopped almonds
50g Glace cherries, quartered
225g Marzipan

For the topping
15g Butter, melted
Icing sugar to dredge

Tip the dried fruit into a small bowl and add the rum. Stir the fruit, then cover the bowl. Leave the fruit for at least 2 hrs, or overnight. To make the dough, tip the flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar, yeast and salt into a bowl. Lightly beat together the butter, milk and egg and add to the flour mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 8-10 mins, until the dough is smooth and elastic or knead with the dough hook for 4 minutes on speed 1.

Cover with cling-film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1½ hours in a warm place (hot press/airing cupboard is ideal). Knock back with your fist and turn out. Roll out the dough 2.5cm thick rectangle. Sprinkle over the soaked fruit, glacé cherries and chopped almonds.

Knead the fruit into the dough.

Roll the dough out to about 23 x 30cm (9 x 12in) oval. Roll the centre slightly thinner than the edges.
Knead the marzipan to soften it and then roll it out into a 20cm long sausage shape.

Place the marzipan on the dough, and then fold the dough over it to enclose it, making sore the top edge is set back slightly, press to seal.

Place the stollen on a buttered baking sheet, and cover it with a lightly oiled piece of cling film for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 170°C FAN/190°C/375°F/Gas 5.

Bake the stollen for 30 mins, or until it sounds hollow when lifted off the baking sheet and tapped underneath. Remove from the oven and slide it onto a wire rack. Immediately brush over the melted butter and heavily dredge it with icing sugar. Leave it to cool.

The stollen will keep for up to 5-7 weeks if wrapped tightly in foil and stored in a cool place or freeze. Re-dust with icing sugar before serving.

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