I’m also very pleased that the person who shared this recipe is Hampshire’s own Ellie Lash. I suspect that Ellie may have even been baking this stollen longer than I’ve been baking biscotti. Here’s what she has to say:
Many years ago as the holidays neared, I decided to bake some kind of breakfast bread for Christmas morning. Jonathan’s mother (who was from Konstanz in Germany) suggested a stollen. I found a recipe in a cookbook called The Sunset Book of Breads. It included lots of candied fruit and citron which nobody really liked, so I tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with what I currently make — very simple and delicious and no one has to pick out the candied fruits! This bread should be made a few weeks in advance, wrapped in tin foil, popped into the freezer and then reheated for a half hour at 350 degrees before serving. It is such a tradition in our family that our kids call me every year to get the recipe so they can make it as gifts for friends and neighbors. It would be unthinkable not to serve it on Christmas morning. To prepare for this bread it is necessary to bury a vanilla bean in a cup of sugar for a couple of days to make vanilla flavored sugar. (I usually keep this from year to year in a small jar.)
I patted and poked and moved the forks through the mixture, breaking the butter up until it was well incorporated into the dry ingredients, which should feel like coarse crumbs. Meanwhile, you mix together the wet ingredients in another bowl. These wet ingredients include cottage cheese, which you whiz briefly in the food processor until it’s smooth. (I’ve seen stollen recipes that use ricotta as well.) Once it’s been whizzed and mixed with the egg, it doesn’t look like cottage cheese anymore:
Then you add the dried fruit and lemon zest. I used currents and a mix of dried cranberries and dried cherries. I didn’t have any golden raisins, so I skipped those (though they were optional anyway). I didn’t measure the lemon zest carefully, but I zested two lemons, and that turned out to be enough:
It’s not that pretty when you mix it all up:
But then you mix the wet ingredients into the dry. The dough will be sticky, but it’s not hard to get it into a ball you can work with:
You put your ball of dough on a floured surface and knead until the flour is incorporated and you can stretch the dough into an oval. I would recommend doing this on parchment paper, which you can then just transfer to your baking sheet. I didn’t and regretted it.
At that point, you brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle it with vanilla sugar. Then you fold the dough part way over and brush more butter on it and sprinkle more vanilla sugar. (If you desperately want to make this right now and don’t have a vanilla bean in the house, plain sugar would be fine. But if you have time and access to a vanilla bean, it’s worth making a container of vanilla sugar, which smells wonderful. I mixed a cup of sugar with one vanilla bean and only used a few tablespoons of it for this, but I’m looking forward to having it on hand for other baking projects. Vanilla beans are ridiculously expensive if you buy them at a place like Whole Foods, but they’re easily found online for much more reasonable rates. )
Mine baked for just over 45 minutes and made the house smell wonderful. Ellie suggests that you make it ahead of time and freeze it, but in the interest of science, I cut mine in half and put half in the freezer and took the other half to work. (As you can see, it makes a large loaf.)
I should preface this by saying that it’s not uncommon for me to share baked goods with my colleagues. But what was uncommon was how many people asked for the recipe. The stollen is not too sweet, not too heavy, slightly spicy, slightly lemony, chewy from the dried fruit and completely delicious. I enjoyed some with tea that very day. And since the other half of the stollen is safely stowed in my freezer, I plan to enjoy more before the month is up. It may be winter, but at least there is stollen!
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 /2 teaspoon mace (I used 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg instead)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 cup ground blanched almonds (you can just grind up almonds in the Cuisinart or use almond flour)
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1 cup cottage cheese (whirl in blender or Cuisinart to make smooth)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons rum( optional) (I used the rum and didn’t regret it!)
- 1 cup currants
- 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
- 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (bury a vanilla bean in a small container of sugar for a few days)
- Combine flour, baking powder,sugar, salt, spices and almonds. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Blend cottage cheese, egg, vanilla, almond extract, rum, lemon zest, fruits:
- Stir wet ingredients into flour mixture until all ingredients are moistened.
- With your hands mold dough into a ball, place on floured surface and knead 6 to 10 turns until dough is smooth.
- Roll dough to form an oval about 8 x 10 inches. Lightly crease dough just off center and brush surface with melted butter, then sprinkle on vanilla sugar.Fold smaller section longwise half way over larger section. Brush with more butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or silicone mat) and place stollen dough on sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Bread will spring back a bit when done. Sometimes it needs a few minutes longer, but watch that it doesn’t burn. Let it cool on a rack and then wrap tightly in foil and freeze, or you can serve it warm immediately.
- Hope you like this as much as we do. I increased the spices a bit because we like strong tastes but if you don’t then put in less by 1/2.
A Few Other Stollen Links
This recipe from King Arthur Flour is similar to Ellie’s: Stollen Moments