Just before Thanksgiving, Eric and I were lucky enough to go to the UK to video master baker, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. Two of the breads we made there were his award-winning Christmas stollen. We just made them on our own at home. Here is what happened.
The recipes are in his book and reprinted below.
Part 1 – Marzipan Stollen
This fruited bread includes candied citrus peel and marzipan (almond candy paste). Because we wanted to avoid the high fructose corn syrup in the only candied citrus peel available in our town, we opted to make our own.
Here is the recipe we used with some very flavorful results…
Candied Citrus Peel
peel of 3 oranges, 2 grapefruit or 6 lemons
1 c granulated white sugar
3 Tbs. organic corn syrup
3/4 c water
- Remove the inner flesh and white pithy part from the peel. The white part tends to make the peel bitter. Cut the cleaned peel into strips.
- Blanch the peel in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Empty and blanch again in fresh water for 15 minutes. Blanching serves two purposes. Firstly, it tenderizes and takes away bitterness. And secondly, it changes the cellular structure so that the sugar will be accepted into the peel.
- Bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil. Add the blanched peel. Simmer until the peel is translucent. This will take about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit overnight in the sugar syrup.
- The next day, reheat the sugar syrup before removing the peel. Drain the peel on a rack and let sit for a day to dry.
- Toss the peel in granulated sugar. It is now ready to use or storage in a covered container.
Then we made the marzipan. Here is the recipe for that…
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups ground almonds (or almond meal)
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
- Prepare a workspace by sprinkling powdered sugar over a marble slab, wooden cutting board, or large baking sheet. Fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water.
- Put the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a large heavy saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cream of tartar and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and cover, boiling, for 3 minutes.
- Uncover and boil until the temperature reaches soft-ball stage, 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Place the bottom of the saucepan in the cold water you’ve prepared, stirring the sugar mixture constantly until it becomes thick and creamy.
- Stir in the ground almonds, egg whites, and almond extract then place back over low heat and stir for 2 more minutes.
- Spoon the marzipan onto your prepared work surface, and turn it with a metal spatula until it cools down enough to touch.
- Coat your hands in powdered sugar and begin to knead the marzipan, working it until it is smooth and pliant.
- Your marzipan can now be used immediately or stored by wrapping it in plastic wrap and keeping it in an airtight container.
TIP: This marzipan turned out fine, but Eric would like it to have a stronger almond flavor. So the next time we make it, we will try using fresh ground almonds instead of the almond meal I used. If that is insufficient, I will add an extra half teaspoon of almond extract.
Now it became time to REALLY get to work.
100 g / 3.5 oz. good marzipan
vanilla sugar, to taste
confectioners (powdered) sugar for dusting
For the Fruit Mixture
60 g / ½ cup sultanas (golden raisins)
15 g / 2 Tbs. toasted flaked or slivered almonds
15 g / 1 generous Tbs. diced candied citrus peel
Freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 1 small unwaxed orange
Freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon
15 g / 15 ml (1 Tbs.) rum
To make the fruit mixture (one week in advance)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
- Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand in a cool place for up to 1 week. When it is ready, most of the liquid should have been absorbed.
10 g fresh yeast OR 5 g / 1.5 tsp. dried (active dry yeast)
20 g / 20 ml / 4 tsp. whole milk, warmed
20 g / 2 ½ Tbs. white strong (bread) flour
50 g / 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. softened butter (salted or unsalted)
20 g / 2 Tbs. sugar
1 g / ¼ tsp. salt
1 g / ¼ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 medium egg beaten
150 g / 1 ¼ cups white strong (bread) flour
For coating the baked bread:
150 g / 10 Tbs. butter (salted or unsalted), melted and kept warm
baking sheet lined with parchment paper
To make the dough
- In a larger mixing bowl, weigh out the yeast. Add the milk and stir until the yeast has dissolved.
- Add the 20 g / 2 ½ Tbs. flour and mix with a wooden spoon until well mixed. This is the pre-ferment.
- Cover the bowl and let ferment in a warm place until doubled in size — about 30 minutes.
- While the pre-ferment rises, in another (smaller) mixing bowl. Beat the 50 g / 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. butter, sugar, salt, cardamom and vanilla extract in mixer or with a balloon whisk until soft and smooth.
- Add the egg, little by little, whisking well.
- If the mixture separates, add a teaspoon of flour to help bind it.
- Drain excess juice from the reserved fruit mixture, pressing with fingers if necessary. Mix in about 1 Tbs. of the flour. Set aside. TIP: Since fruit comes in different sizes, there may be quite a bit more juice than can be absorbed by the solids. This extra moisture can throw you off, so drain it well.
- When the pre-ferment has risen, stir it into the butter mixture.
- Add the remaining 150 g / 1 ¼ cups four to the mixture and mix until it comes together.
- Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, knead as in Step 5 on page 87. (Knead by pulling a corner to the center of the dough, turn a quarter turn, pull the dough to the center. Pull to the center 10 times.)
- Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Repeat Steps 11 and 12 three times.
- Add the reserved dried fruit mixture to the dough and knead gently until thoroughly mixed in.
- Cover and let rise until about double the size, about 1 hour.
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.
- Punch down the dough to release the air and transfer to the floured work surface.
- Shape the dough into a ball and let rest until it is workable, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shape the marzipan into a short sausage.
- Dust the dough with a little flour so that it does not stick to the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to a rough square. [G]
- Place the marzipan sausage in the middle [H]
- Pull the dough over the ends of the marzipan. [I]
- Fold the side closest to you over the marzipan to enclose it completely. [J]
- Fold the side furthest from you over. [K]
- Roll the stolen over so that the seam is underneath. Use both hands to mold the dough around the marzipan in the middle. [L]
- Transfer the stolen to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise in a warm place until slightly less than double the size, about 30 minutes.
- About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F). Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup with water and set aside.
- Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven when it has come up to temperature, pour the reserved cup of water into the hot roasting pan and lower the temperature to 180° C (350° F).
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
- To check if it is baked through, tip it upside down and tap the bottom. It should sound hollow. If it is not ready, return it to the oven for about 3 minutes.
- After removing baked stolen from the oven, remove any darkened raisins stuck to the parchment paper with a sharp knife, taking care not to damage the stolen.
- Brush the stolen with the hot, melted butter, allow it to seep into the crust of the bread, then repeat twice more. TIP: Do not skimp on this part.
- Let it cool completely.
For the Glaze
30 g / ¼ cup smooth apricot jam
45 g / 3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. whole milk
To make the Glaze and finish the Stollen
- Put the ingredients for the glaze into a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
- Brush the glaze all over (top and bottom) the cold stolen.
- Generously dust a tray with vanilla sugar and place the freshly glazed stolen on it. Dust the top and sides with more vanilla sugar. TIP: Vanilla sugar is granulated sugar with vanilla bean stored in the same airtight container so that the sugar takes on a vanilla flavor. If you have no vanilla beans (like us), you can mix 2 cups of sugar thoroughly with a teaspoon of vanilla, spread it to dry for a couple of hours, and you have vanilla sugar.
- Finally, (and we do mean “finally”) dust the stolen with confectioners (powdered) sugar before serving. NOTE: We skipped this final step to escape one more layer of sugar (don’t ask me why), but realized later that this also served to make the bread less sticky on the outside, and therefore easier to eat with your hands. Your call. It is GREAT either way.
Makes 1 medium stolen.