I'm warning you, this is a very fussy recipe, but the final product is definitely worth the time and effort.
Stollen from TESCO
I've tried Stollen from Aldi's (okay, 'Aldi' for some of you) but it just didn't cut it. The Stollen from Tesco, which friends sent us a couple years ago, was amazing! We savored every single melt-in-your-mouth morsel and I knew right then that I had to learn how to make this stuff.
Dried fruit, soaking in brandy
The 'sponge' just before fermenting
The dough ball
Patted out and ready to apply the almond paste
Shaped into a crescent, or in this case, a boomerang
The final product, sprinkled with powdered sugar and sliced
I must say that the kitchen smelled fantastic when the stollen was baking. And it does taste wonderful, although I'm not sure I would bother to make it if there were Tesco Stollen available. I think they must sprinkle magic on it. Or maybe it just seemed better because it was a gift and I hadn't spent five hours monkeying around with a fussy recipe.
For those of you who would like to try your hand at this delightful treat, I'm sharing the recipe I found online:
Christmas Stollen: RECIPE
The almond paste, which can be made ahead of time (otherwise this would be a six hour project!) and stored in the refrigerator to use within a week. (Actually, I had some I'd made and stored in the freezer):
10 oz dried blanched almonds (I actually used ground almonds that I found at Farm & Fleet for $1.99 a bag, contrasted with the much greater price of regular almonds.)
10 oz powdered sugar
5 oz granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
Make a sugar syrup by placing the water, granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir it to combine. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes. Let it cool.
Place the almonds in a food processor and process them to a fine powder. Add the powdered sugar. With the food processor running, slowly add the sugar syrup until the mixture forms a paste.
Store the almond paste tightly covered. If you will be storing it for more than a week, store in the refrigerator. It also freezes well.
Now on to the Stollen itself:
Makes 1 large or 2 small loaves. I doubled the following recipe to get two large loaves.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4-5 teaspoons (or 2 packets) instant or active dry yeast
2 cups dried fruit. I used a combination of dried blueberries, golden raisins, dried cherries, and dried apricots.
1/2 cup Grand Marnier, brandy, rum, or schnapps
1 tablespoon orange or lemon extract and/or grated lemon or orange rind
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 to 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup almond slivers or marzipan (I used almond paste.)
Butter or oil
Two hours before making the stollen, combine the dried fruit, brandy, and orange peel. Set aside.
Warm the milk to approximately 100 degrees. Mix the yeast into the milk and stir into the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 1 hour until the sponge is very foamy.
When the sponge is ready, combine the remaining flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the sponge, egg, softened butter, and enough water to form a soft but not sticky dough. Stir in the dried fruit mixture and knead in a mixer or by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. I needed to use additional flour so that it wouldn't be a sticky dough.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic or a damp towel, and set aside to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
On a floured surface, shape the dough into something like a rectangle, either by rolling it out or pressing it with your hands.
Place the marzipan or slivered almonds (or almond paste) in the center of the loaf. Fold the dough closed and shape the loaf into something resembling a crescent.
Cover the loaf loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for approximately an hour to an hour and a half. While it is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When fully risen (raised?), bake the stollen for approximately 20 minutes. Rotate it (I have no idea why this is necessary) and bake it until the internal temperature is approximately 190 degrees. That would be about 15 or 20 minutes. (Check after 15. I wish I had.)
Remove the stollen from the oven. While still hot, brush the top of the loaf with butter or vegetable oil and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Wrap and store out of sight, or I can almost promise that it will be gone before you've had a chance to share it with anyone!
And finally, this recipe was 'stollen' from the world wide web.
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