- baking tray lined with
- baking parchment
Almond paste :
- 100 g finely ground almonds
- 100 g fine granulated sugar
- pinch of grated lemon zest
- small drop of almond oil
- 1 beaten egg
- 500 g wheat flour for bread
- 50 g white caster sugar
- 10 g instant yeast
- 50 g soft butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 275 ml lukewarm milk
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch pulverized saffron
- 1 drop of bitter almond oil
- 2 teaspoons salt (8 g)
- 100 g brown raisins
- 100 g currants
- 50 g coarsely ground, roasted almonds
- 25 g candied orange peel, chopped
- 25 g citron, chopped
- 1 tbsp flour
- 50 g red glazed cherries, cut in half
- 50 g green glazed cherries, cut in half
- butter, powdered sugar
They are of German origin, the loaves that you will see in every Dutch supermarket in December. Saxon Christmas stollen are already mentioned in 1329. Bishop Heinrich I von Grünberg bestowed the baker’s guild of his city all kinds of rights on condition that they would deliver him and his successors every year at Christmas Stollen. In Dresden in the seventeenth century, stollen was offered annually to the Elector of Saxony on Boxing Day. These stollen were 1½ meters long, weighed 36 pounds and were cut into 36 pieces for distribution. Hence the word Stolle, which means “clog, lump”. It was originally a piece of a what is called krintenwegge in the Nether Saxon Dutch dialect, a gift when a child was born. Wegge- or Wiegebrood (cradle bread) was the old Dutch name.
The Dresden Christmas stollen became so famous that they conquered the whole world. Soon the bakers in Dresden decided to bake them in a somewhat more convenient format so that they could be sent everywhere. It is thought that the surface of the Dresdner Weihnachtstolle covered with glaze is intended as a reminder of the Christ Child wound in cloth.
Here my own homely recipe that got better and better over the years.
- In the Netherlands readymade almond paste can be bought, that has to be kneaded with some extra egg to make it supple. If you have to make it yourself you should start with the paste at least a day before: mix the ingredients except the egg in a bowl. Add so much egg that a a supple dough can be kneaded. Shape the paste into a 30 cm roll, wrap it in plastic foil and put it in the fridge for 1 to 2 days before using it. Will last a week.
- Mix flour, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add butter and yolk; mix the milk with cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and almond oil. Stir into the flour. Knead briefly – maybe some milk has to be added for a firm, non-sticky dough – add salt; knead in the machine for 8 minutes (lowest position) or 15 minutes by hand. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise to twice the size in 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.
- Wash raisins and currants and steep them for 10 minutes in water that just does not boil. Drain, pat dry. Mix with the almonds, the orange peel, the citron and the flour.
- Preheat the oven to 225˚C.
- First knead raisins, currants, almonds, orange peel and citron evenly through the risen dough. Then squeeze the dough flat on a dusted work surface and press the cherries in. Knead gently for a moment trying to not mash the cherries. Shape the dough into a ball. Dust with flour. Allow 15 minutes to rise on a dusted work surface under the damp cloth. Then turn the least filled side down. Form a pointed model (30 cm long, 15 cm at its widest). Roll out one half thinly (from 7 ½ cm to 18 cm at its widest). Shape the almond paste into a roll of 30 cm and place it right next to the center onto the thick half. Fold the thin half over it completely, press firmly. Transfer to the baking tray.
- Put into the oven on the second ledge from below immediately. After 10 minutes switch back to 200˚C. Baking time: 35 minutes total. Cover with aluminum foil if the crust browns too quickly.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven. Brush the stollen immediately with plenty of butter and sprinkle thickly with powdered sugar. Gently transfer to a rack to cool. After cooling, dust again with powdered sugar.
- Deep freezing increases the taste. Pack the bread airtight, first in aluminum foil, then in plastic. Allow to defrost overnight in the package.