- a Dresden Christmas Stollen (check out the Dresden Stollen Festival)
In New Orleans, people often eat King Cake on Epiphany, but I thought instead I would mention another kind of Christmas cake, one my college boyfriend used to make .... Stollen.
A Stollen is a loaf shaped fruitcake, powdered with icing sugar on the outside. The cake is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. A similar cake from the Dutch cuisine is called a Kerststol in Dutch.
Stollen has kind of an interesting history. In the 15th century, the Prince Elector Ernst (1441 - 1486) and his brother Duke Albrecht (1443 –1500) grew tired of eating Stollen made with oil and entreated Pope Nicholas V to allow them to use butter in making it, something that had been verboten because the season leading up to Christmas was one of fasting. He said no, but a later Pope, Innocent VIII, agreed to allow just the Prince Elector and his family to freely use butter ... everyone else had to pay an annual tribute to support the building of the Freiberg Cathedral (coincidently, Rouen Cathedral has a tower called the Butter Tower for similar reasons). The ban on butter was removed when Saxony became Protestant.
Here's a recipe for Stollen I found on the web ....
(For two loaves)
1/2 c Raisins
1/2 c Candied red cherries, halved
1/4 c Currants
1/4 c Candied citron, diced
1/4 c Rum
4 1/2 c Flour, all-purpose
2 Yeast, active dry packages
1 c Milk
1/4 c Butter
1/4 c Sugar
1/2 ts Salt
1 tb Orange peel, finely shredded
2 ts Lemon peel, finely shredded
1/2 c Almonds, blanched chopped
In a medium bowl combine raisins, cherries, currants, citron or citrus peel, and rum. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour and yeast.
Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt over low heat, stirring constantly until warm (120F to 130F).
Add to dry ingredients along with eggs and fruit peels. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl.
Beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in fruit-rum mixture, almonds and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (5 to 6 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover. Let rise until double (1 hour).
Punch dough down. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll each half to a 10x8-inch oval. Fold lengthwise in half so the top half overlaps to within 1/2 inch of the bottom half. Press folded edge firmly. Place about 4-inches apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (45 minutes).
Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and decorate with candied cherries. Makes 2 loaves.