…from the Perspectives’ Holiday Kitchen
How you doin’? I recently posted some recipes that are great to give as Christmas gifts. As I was going through Perspectives’ first holiday cookbook, I rediscovered a favorite of mine that is wonderful to eat but also a terrific hostess/host gift—Phil’s Mom’s Holiday Stollen.
Who is Phil? Phil is a young man that we hired right out of college and one of our favorite culinarians we raised from a young pup. Phil later became the head of our brand new test kitchens and producer of The Food Show (on ABC). It was a sad day for us when Phil decided to leave us and take over a family business, Daffy Apple, but we wished him well.
He told us the story of his mom’s Baked Stollen—"It was only a few years back when my mom first decided to bake stollen for Christmas morning. Traditionally, she baked her signature coffee cake after we emptied our stockings, but with a house filled with more holiday guests than usual, she decided to expand the morning menu.”
“I can still remember her kneading the dough on the 23rd, and when I later walked past the countertop, I encountered the most supple, glistening dome of dough I had ever seen. I didn’t know what to expect, as the dried and candied fruit seemed reminiscent of a fruit cake. But after my first warm bite, it was clear: This incredible bread is nowhere near a fruit cake or an angel food cake. It’s nothing short of a powdered-sugar-coated piece of heaven.”
Since then, our test kitchen chefs have become obsessed with trying all different types of stollen inspired by Phil’s Mom’s. They’ve baked up stollens with a marzipan rope and without; folded by hand or baked in a stollen bread pan. We’ve done deep dives on the internet with dreams of someday attending the annual Stollen Festival in Dresden, Germany.
This bread immediately became a holiday tradition in my home. As I write this blog I’m fantasizing and looking forward to kneading that gorgeous bread dough and smelling that sweet aroma filling my new kitchen. I hope this recipe can find its way into your new holiday traditions for your family as well.
I am often asked, Is Stollen the Same as Fruitcake? While stollen is made with candied fruit and nuts, it is a yeast bread, not a fruit cake. In fact, if you are someone who doesn’t like fruit cake, do not fret and don’t shy away from a slice of stollen. After the first bite you will be convinced this Christmas treat is a category all its own!
A stollen that has been wrapped in plastic wrap will keep at room temperature for up to one week (if not devoured first), and slices can be revived quickly in the microwave. When wrapped airtight, it can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely and dust with additional powdered sugar before serving. It can also be toasted and buttered as a breakfast treat.
I classify stollen as a rich and delicious yeast-raised bread. Since it is filled with nuts, dried fruit and a hearty amount of butter, it is understandable that this bread can be confused for a cake—especially because it is typically topped with a blanket of powdered sugar.
Prep time: 30-45 minutes
Proof time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Bake time: 35 to 45 minutes (depending on the oven)
Yield: 8 Loaves
1 pound margarine
1 quart scalded whole milk
1 pound granulated sugar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large room temperature eggs
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
8 packages of powdered yeast (I prefer Fleishman’s)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 pounds all-purpose flour
1 pound currants
1 pound raisins
1/2 pound mixed citron or candied fruit
1/2 cup blanched chopped almonds
ChefSecret: very seldom bake with margarine, but Phil’s mom says this is what she has always done—that’s good enough for me. So, we will just keep it original as can be.
Quip of the Day: It’s time to bake the world a better place!
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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