I love the Holidays! I love the nostalgia and magical side of it. Although very colorful, the energy is peaceful and serene. It takes me back to my childhood when closing my eyes tightly anything and everything was possible; my dreams and wishes were at my fingertips. I’m still a big kid inside and I never want to grow up because of the beautiful feelings that rush back each Holiday!
The Holidays also represent a time when people want to get closer, to reunite and to share more great memories together. Love is what this time of year is about!
Somehow it is not the presents we have received that we remember the most. What creates memories from the Holidays are simple things like a smile, a song, a phrase, a dish, a smell, a specific ambiance frozen in time. To me that’s what the Holidays are all about and this is what traditions are based on. Each country has its own traditions and favorite Christmas foods and each likes to proudly boast about their favorite.
My partner David has a German heritage and I thought it would be awesome to bring a traditional Holiday dish from his roots; Christmas Stollen also called Christstollen. This bread is recognized as a precious Christmas pastry around the world. The history of Christmas Stollen goes back to the 14th century and originated in Dresden. Back then (14th century), butter and milk were banned by the Church and Stollen were made only with flour, oats and water so you could just imagine how tasteless they were.
Today, the Stollen are amazingly tasteful and highly requested worldwide. Each year in December a festival is held which is called Stollenfest which showcases a gigantic Stollen. If you really, really want to serve a true Traditional Holiday Treat, this is the perfect recipe for you!
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup candied lemon & orange peels
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (between 105-110ºF)
- 1/2 tbsp. honey
- 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup melted butter (brush 1 loaf)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 2 tbsp. blanched sliced almonds, for garnish
FOOTNOTE: Here's two methods to store Stollen.
- Wrap each loaf with wax paper and then aluminum foil; store in a cool dry place (the longer it sits, the moister it becomes).
- Wrap each loaf with wax paper and then aluminum foil. Place them in a freezer bag - you might have to cut them in half unless you have a long freezer bag. When ready to eat, first thaw loaves in the refrigerator and then store in a cool place.
2 1/2 hours