The cakes of Christmas, be it the petite mince pie or the bombastic panettone or the heavyweight fruit cake, always bring with them a certain amount of joviality. Christmas (in most Western countries) has got to be the sweetest and most decadent month of the year – a proper festival of sugary, fruity, chocolaty treats!
The temptations are plenty and everywhere - after last week’s post where I shared a few ideas on how to be good during this sinful time – today’s post is just plain wicked! I always say it’s about the balance.
Indeed there is something rather reviving about a tea-break, with a pot of steaming herbal and spiced tea and a slice of sugar, spice and fruit-laden cake – why even slightly salacious amidst the yuletide jangle! I have to say whether it is booze-soaked raisins or sugary fruit peel in the cake mixture, pastry or sweet yeast dough some sort of merry confection like this is a must. It is just as much part of Christmas as the tree, the presents and the big roast!
Stollen is as German as it gets when it comes to Christmas cakes. It certainly is the heavyweight champion compared to some of its European counterparts, especially if the stollen contains rich marzipan in its center. The stolen was invented in Dresden – everyone is familiar with the illustrious Dresdner Stollen, this peel-speckled cake has been around since the 15th century under the name of Striezel. Every year the people of Dresden hold a Christmas festival known as the Striezelmarkt in its honor.
The stollen is a sweetened bread dough enriched with almonds, citrus peel, marzipan and with those typical Christmassy spices like cinnamon and cloves. Of course many of the store-bought ones are quite heavy on butter and sugar too. So it is always better to bake your own just so you know what is going into your cake and what the quality of your ingredients are.
I bake my own stollen almost every year. Besides being the perfect partner for many of the spontaneous visits during this time, I think it also makes a sensational foodie gift wrapped in sparkly paper and placed under the tree.
This year tradition gave way to something more swank and my Christmas Stollen 2015 is very chic dressed in chocolate, studded with chunks of papaya and cranberries, besotted with Kahlua and jazzed up with pistachios. Totally decadent is the rich gianduia pieces that are scattered into the dough giving delightful pockets of creamy-nutty pleasure.
I told you this is just wicked!
Recipe: Chocolate Gianduia Stollen With Cranberries and PapayaMeeta K. Wolff
Yields: 2 small stollen
- 500g flour + more for the counter
- 1 packet dry yeast (approx. 7g)
- 50g dark cocoa powder
- 100g sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed
- 3 tablespoons Kahlua
- 1 tablespoon Lebkuchen spice
- 250g Skyr or quark
- 100g butter, softened
- 100g butter, melted
- 100g pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 100g dried cranberries
- 100g dried papaya, chopped
- 150g gianduia, roughly chopped
- 100g icing sugar
- Place flour, yeast, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, Kahlua, Lebkuchen spice, Skyr or quark, ground almonds, chopped pistachios, soft butter and eggs in a bowl of a standmixer fixed with a dough hook and knead until the dough comes together. Stop in between to scrape the sides down if required. Cover and allow to rise for 60 minutes
- Knead the cranberries and papaya into the dough,then flatten the dough with your fingers slightly and scatter the gianduia. Fold the dough over and slowly knead it into the dough. Do not over-knead. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Shape the dough in a roughly oval form, 3-4 cm thick, fold dough in half lengthwise and put it on baking tray. Brush with the melted butter then allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 180C degrees Place both loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 45-55 minutes. Once out of the oven brush again with the remaining butter then sprinkle generously with the icing sugar and/or some cocoa powder. Serve sliced and spread with your favorite jam and extra melted nougat, sprinkled with some pistachios.
Wrap the stollen in some plastic wrap and allow to rest for a few days. You will see that as it ages the flavors begin to develop more and the stollen becomes more moist.
I usually place some fruity preserves, a small jar of melted nougat and some chopped pistachios when I set the table for a tea or coffee get-together. A preserve adds a nice balanced flavor to the richness of the chocolate – of course best of all is a pure slice sans everything.
Enjoy your baking and I hope I have inspired you to try something new this year.
For more Christmas baking inspiration see what’s baking in my friends kitchens:
- Aparna’s Saffron And Cardamom Flavoured Eggless Cashew Marzipan
- Sally’s Slow cooker Christmas pudding
- Juls’ Panforte
- Simone’s Lemon Thyme Cake
- Jeanne’s Charred clementine and rum individual upside-down cakes
- Rosana's Twelfth Night bread
More Christmas baking at What’s for lunch, Honey?:
|Cranberry Orange Marzipan Stollen Buns||Orange Marmalade Date Fig and Quark Stollen||Hazelnut Frangipane Tart with Quince Hazelnut Mincemeat|
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