The distinctive oval shape of this traditional German Christmas cake is said to represent the Christ child wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Number of servings : makes 10 to 12 servings
Type of meal : | Cakes | Cakes
Special diet :
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-ounce packet dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (105° to 115°F) milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, melted
2 tablespoons cognac
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1-1/2 cups raisins, chopped
1/3 cup mixed candied citrus peel
1 tablespoon grated zest of lemon
Sifted confectioners sugar
Into a large bowl, sift 3 cups of flour with the salt. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in half the milk. Make a well in the center of the flour and salt mixture; then add the yeast and milk, sugar, 2 sticks of butter, and cognac. Mix well to combine, adding enough additional flour to form a smooth, elastic dough.
On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and knead for 3 minutes. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, turning to coat well with oil. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough. Knead in the almonds, raisins, citrus peel, and zest. Allow the dough to rise once more until almost doubled in bulk.
Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a 10-inch round. Fold the round almost in half, flatten, and shape to form an oval. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the stollen with remaining melted butter. Bake, brushing with butter every 10 minutes, for 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. When cooled, wrap in several layers of foil and store in the refrigerator — the cake will keep for 3 to 4 weeks. To serve, slice thinly, wrap the slices in foil, and warm in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, or toast the slices. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.