Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandma's Stollen

We've been busy here, preparing for the holidays and flying into a packing and cleaning frenzy. We've been doing a little celebrating too. Yesterday we had our "Class Christmas Party." The whole school was invited, even the Principal (that's Dad in homeschool lingo).

I make my Grandma's stollen once a year, at Christmas, though I love it far more than the frequency indicates. Sometimes though, you love something more if it really is a rare treat. But stollen isn't hard. Try it!

Years ago I suppose this was an authentic recipe. In my Grandma's day, her family had recently come over from the Old Country. I do notice my grandma lists margarine as an option, and that wasn't a traditional German ingredient. Just a guess. I've made a few changes. Surprise. I omitted candied fruits (even if they are the colors of Christmas); added dried fruit. Bryan calls this fruitcake for modern taste buds. And, of course, because of the nut allergy we nixed the almonds. I'll put my grandma's ingredients in parenthesis; try them if you dare. But try the recipe. It is a far cry different from the loaf of stollen you pick up at the grocery store. I don't touch that stuff!

My helper started out rolling so fast he was a blur - even to the naked eye.

My Grandma's German Stollen

3/4 c. raisins
1/2 c. dried fruits: craisins, blueberries, diced apricots (or candied fruits and orange peels)
1/4 c. currants
4-4.5 c. all purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (I use instant yeast; if you use it, you know how to adjust)
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c.  sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (almond extract)
2 TB grated orange peel
1 TB grated lemon peel
(optional: 1/2. c. chopped blanched almonds)

Soak raisins, fruit and currants in 1/4 c. hot water. In bowl combine 1.5 c. flour and yeast. In a saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt til warm and butter is melted, stirring constantly. Add to dry mixture, then add eggs, vanilla, orange peel and lemon peel. With mixer beat on low speed for 1/2 minute, scraping the bowl. Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Stir in fruit, (nuts), and remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface til smooth; 8-10 minutes.

Shape into ball. Place in a greased bowl, then turn over once to coat surface. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Then punch down and divide in half. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes.

Roll each half to a 10x17 inch oval. Fold long side of oval over to within 1/2 inch of opposite side. Seal edge. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover. Let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. While warm glaze with icing. (Garnish with candied fruits if desired.)

Confectioner's Icing
1.5-2 TB milk or cream
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 c. powdered (or confectioner's) sugar

As you can see, these amounts are less than precise. That means you don't really need to measure. Just eyeball it. Mix it all until smooth. My Grandma's notes say a "thick spreading consistency." In the photos, my icing was thin enough to drizzle it over the stollen.

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