This is Patrick Ryan’s take on the traditional German Christmas bread, Stollen. An enriched brioche dough filled with Christmas spices, dried fruits and nuts, all wrapped up and baked with a marzipan centre. Served warm, it is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy over the festive season. For the fruit mix I use our famous mincemeat which has been soaking in lots of brandy and rum for the last few months. Mincemeat is a mix of sultanas, cranberries, raisins, currents and a little mixed peel mixed together with brown sugar, spices, orange and lemon juice, zest and plenty of booze. It’s best to make this as far ahead as possible so that it has time for the flavours to develop, but if you’re baking on a whim, you can also use store-bought. Definitely give this recipe a try, you won’t regret it. This recipes makes 4 loaves.
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For the Stollen:
- 500g strong (bread) flour
- 10g salt
- 50g sugar
- 150ml milk
- 15g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast)
- 3 large eggs
- 150g butter, softened & cubed
- 50g hazelnuts
- 50g flaked almonds
- 50g pistachios
- 300g mincemeat
- marzipan (see recipe below)
- Rum glaze (see recipe below)
- Icing sugar, for dusting
For the marzipan:
- 225g ground almonds
- 140g icing sugar, sieved
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- Juice of half a lemon
- 100g caster
- 50ml dark rum
- 50ml water
- Tip: For this dough I do recommend the use of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment as this recipe produces a very soft wet dough. If you do not have a mixer, the dough can be made by hand. However, do expect the dough to be significantly softer than ones you may have worked with previously. You will also find with enriched doughs the mixing time is always longer. Be persistent the dough will come together and don’t be tempted to add more flour.
- For the dough, mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a clean mixing bowl. If using fresh yeast, crumble in to flour mix, or simply add dried yeast then add the eggs. Starting the mixer on a slow speed bring all the ingredients together to form a wet dough. Tip: Scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Slowly increase the mixer to a medium speed. Tip: You do not want the mixer on a high speed for too long as this can result in increasing the temperature of the dough. After mixing for 8-10 minutes you will notice the dough starting to slowly come together. At this point add the diced butter to the dough in parts. The butter should be added in about 3 stages, a little at a time. Wait until all the butter has been incorporated (3-4 minutes after each addition) before adding the next amount of butter.
- Once the butter has been fully incorporated increase the speed of the mixer to high for approximately 2 minutes. The dough should be smooth and come away cleanly from the side of the mixing bowl. The dough is now ready to begin its first prove.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Set the dough to one side for about an hour. We want to allow the yeast to get the work without adding the fruit and nuts.
- While the dough proves, prepare the fruit and nut mixture. Place nuts in a dry pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant, occasionally moving the nuts around in the pan so they toast evenly.
- Pour nuts into a bowl, add the mincemeat and stir well to combine. Set aside.
- After an hour return the dough to the stand mixer bowl and on a slow speed slowly add the soaked fruits and nuts. Just mix the dough until you achieve an even distribution of fruit and nuts.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Set the dough to one side for 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes to prove.
- While the dough is proving make the marzipan.
- To make the marzipan, place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine all the ingredients to form a rough dough.
- Transfer the marzipan to a clean work surface. Divide evenly into 4 pieces then roll into cylinders 3cm thick. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge until required.
- Returning to the dough.
- On a lightly floured surface turn out the dough and knock back. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each dough portion to a rectangle shape the same length as a marzipan portion. Place a portion of marzipan into the centre of each dough. Fold over the dough to seal in the marzipan. Place each shaped dough onto a baking tray seam side facing down and allow the dough to prove for a further 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 200°C fan assisted / gas mark 5. Before baking, brush each loaf with egg wash (this is optional as the loaves will be glazed). Place in the oven, steaming the oven as always, and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you find that your dough is taking a lot of colour quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 200°C / 180°C fan assisted / gas 4 and continue baking.
- While loaves are baking, prepare the rum glaze. Place all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and place on a medium heat. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Set aside.
- Once Stollen has baked, remove from oven then brush each loaf generously with the rum glaze, allow it to soak in before applying a few coats of the syrup.
- Leave to cool completely then dust generously with icing sugar.