Thursday 19 December 2013

Cranberry and Orange Stollen - S is for...Stollen

Cranberry and Orange Stollen
Is it a cake or is it a bread? Whatever classification you want to put it in Stollen is full of lovely Christmasy flavours such as dried fruits, nuts, marzipan and mixed spices. Stollen is of course German in origin and there are mentions of it from the 15th Century. The first Stollen were very unexciting and quite bland tasting. At that time in Germany the Advent period was a time of fasting similar to Lent. No butter was allowed and the recipe of the time contained no fruit or marzipan. Over the years this has developed into the Stollen we like to eat today.

Most Stollen recipes require the fruit to be soaked in rum overnight. Not being a drinker I wasn't sure we had any rum in the house (apparently we do so I've been told) so in order to plump up the fruit a bit I decided to use the juice and zest from the orange we had brought back from a Christingle service. I've also cut down on the amount of butter and sugar used. 

Click here for a printable recipe.


Juice and zest of 1 Orange
2oz (55g) Dried Cranberries
2oz (55g) Candied peel
2oz (55g) Sultanas
14oz (400g) Strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting
½ tsp (2.5ml) Salt
½ tsp (2.5ml) Mixed spice
2oz (55g) Unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
2 tbsp (30ml) Caster sugar
½ oz (10g) Easy-blend dried yeast
7 fl oz (200ml) Lukewarm milk (1 minute in the microwave)
1 Large egg
1oz (28g) Blanched almonds, chopped finely
5oz (140g) Marzipan


1. Put the dried fruit in a bowl along with the orange juice and zest. Stir and then set aside.
2. Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl and then rub in the butter.
3. Add the sugar and the yeast and stir all the ingredients together.
4. In a separate bowl or jug add the egg to the milk and beat well.
5. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and egg. With a spoon (I use a soup spoon!) stir all the ingredients until it comes together to form a dough.
6. Flour a smooth surface well and start to knead the dough. The idea is to stretch the dough so don't worry being too heavy-handed. Do this for about 10 minutes – put the radio on or listen to some music as this will make the 10 minutes seem much shorter.
7. Once it is smooth form the dough into a ball and put back into the bowl. Cover and and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise – I use a warm, damp tea towel and put it in my airing cupboard. You can also lightly oil some cling film and put it next to a window with the sun coming through, next to a warm radiator or next to a pre-heated oven.
8. Meanwhile prepare the marzipan by rolling it out into a sausage shape about 8 inches (20cm) long.
9. When the dough has doubled in size give it a couple of punches to release any air bubbles.
10. Flour the work surface again and knead the dough again.
11. Spread it out on the floured surface and the scatter the dried fruit, orange juice and almonds along it.
12. Fold it in and then knead again so all the fruit is equally distributed. It will be very sticky so keep flouring the surface.
13. Stretch the dough out so it measures about 9 x 7 inches (23x18 cm). Lay the marzipan in the middle and fold over each side to enclose it.
14. Press down lightly on the seam then turn over and place a greased baking tray.
15. Cover again with a tea towel or cling film and return to the warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size again.
16. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5.
17. Once the Stollen has risen bake for 25-30 minutes until it is golden and sounds hollow underneath. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
18. Once cool cover with foil and leave at least a day to mature. Before serving dust with icing sugar.

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