Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daring Bakers: Christmas Stollen



On the Daring Baker's website there was a lot of discussion about what the December recipe would be this year. It is always something for the Christmas season and a lot of people seem to fear the possibility that someone would pick fruitcake. It turns out there are a lot of fruitcake haters out there. Well this year they did - sort of. They pick stollen. Stollen is a traditional German fruitcake - but it is more of a bread than a cake since it is made with yeast. Traditionally stollen is shaped more like a loaf (supposed to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes) but we were to make ours in the wreath form you see above.

Well I am not a fruitcake hater. When I grew up my grandmother would make fruitcake every Christmas. I think it was pretty much a traditional southern fruitcake and I still enjoy it when I can get it. I have never made one myself though so I was excited at the thought of making the Stollen this month. The Stollen can be pretty easy to make if you use all store-bought ingredients but I decided to make a few of them.

I have not got out the candy thermometer in a while but I needed it twice for this recipe. The first thing I made was the candied citrus peels. These taste a lot better than anything you would buy and I used this recipe to make them.

The second thing I made was some marzipan. Marzipan is a traditional filling for a stollen and it was something I wanted to experiment with so I decided to make some. My father doesn't like the almonds that are in a traditional marzipan so I decided to experiment and use pecans in place of the almonds. I have never heard of anyone making pecan marzipan but I figured it was worth a try. I used this recipe - http://candy.about.com/od/nougatmarzipancandy/r/Basicmarzipan.htm as a starting point. Instead of grounding the pecans I just processed them in the food processor. I think that left them a little course and it ended up not being quite as much of a paste as a normal marzipan but it worked great in the stollen.

The only other modification I made to the recipe was that I used raisins, blueberries, cherries, and cranberries instead of just raisins and I also used a mix of cherries and pineapple in place of the glace cherries. I also substituted some course chopped pecans for the almonds.

The resulting stollen was fantastic. It looked beautiful in the wreath shape. It is a nice deep brown color and with all the powdered sugar on top it looked and tasted fantastic. I really liked the pecan marzipan - I like almonds but I think the pecans were really good in this. It is a heavy bread but nowhere near as heavy as a traditional fruitcake.

I thought it tasted pretty good but a week or so after I made it I made the discovery that elevates this above a traditional fruitcake for me. Like any fruitcake this is supposed to store well. Like a normal bread it does start to get a little dry after a while. Well many people had posted that it was normal to eat it toasted and normal to put butter on it. Well toasted with butter was incredible - like a good cinnamon raisin toast - only better. I was going to be saving some for Christmas to share with the family but I have finished off half the loaf (the other half went to a pot luck) myself. I still enough of the citrus peels and marzipan for another so I think I will try making a smaller loaf - maybe in the traditional shape so I can bring it to Christmas dinner at my mom's.

Thanks to Penny at Sweet Sadie's Baking for this months challenge. It was good to get everyone to try out a fruitcake - some found they liked it (an some found out they really didn't). Also thanks to Audax at Audax Artifex - He provided a lot of hints and I used recipes he provided for the citrus and marzipan. If you have not checked out his blog - do it - he takes all of the daring kitchen challenges to a whole new level. I think he has made at least 4 completely different stollen for this challenge.



14 comments:

UFRV said...

WOW, beautiful Stollen, wasn't it just too good? I see you also made it again, I hope it's as delicious as the first time! Congratulations and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Laura said...

pecan marzipan? What a great idea! Great looking stollen.

Suzler said...

Fantastic looking stollen! I bet that'll go down very well at Christmas dinner. I'm tempted to make it again too. I might try it with the blueberries, cherries, cranberries and pineapple - that sounds delicious.

Merry Christmas!

shelley c. said...

We couldn't stop eating ours, either! Pecan marzipan sounds delicious - what a great substitution to make. Excellent job with the challenge. Happy Holidays!

Deeba PAB said...

I love the delicious changes you included in your Stollen. Looks so pretty. Pecan marzipan has me intrigued...WOW!!
Happy Holidays to you, and a Merry Christmas!

Penny said...

The Stollen looks amazing! I am so glad you liked doing it. I have to try the pecan marzipan too!
Merry Christmas!

Clare @ Mrs Multitasker said...

Your stollen look wonderful! I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I should have tried making it after all... (I decided to skip this round cos was just too tired, too many other things to make....)

culinography said...

Your stollen is beautiful! Well done!

silverrock said...

Yum, your stollen looks delicious! Great job on this month's DB challenge, you rocked it!

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Renata said...

Wow! Your Stollen looks wonderful! Great that you did the marzipan, I wish I had made it too, maybe next time. Happy New Year!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Lovely stollen. Very nicely done.

Suzanne said...

your stollen looks wonderful! Looks like you got a hold of citron I wonder how that must taste. Great job on the challenge.

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