Are you in a holiday mood and want to try a new recipe? Then Dresdner Stollen is the choice for you. This famous bread-like fruit cake is associated with the Christmas holiday because it was originally produced as food to be eaten during the Advent fast. Stollen has been sold at the Dresden Christmas market since the 15th century, and it took several decades before the bland, baked oat, flour, and water mixture was transformed into the light, hearty loaf we know today. Each year the city of Dresden puts on a Stollen Festival to celebrate the food that takes its name from the Saxon city. Today, the festival takes place on the Saturday before the second Sunday in Advent. Each year the bakers of Dresden produce a 3000 to 4000 kg stollen. It is cut into half-pound sections and served to the festival visitors. The following recipe won’t be as much as what is served at the festival, but it will serve a good-sized family.
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 cup candied lemon & orange peel
1 1/2 oz. candied angelica
1/3 cup glacé cherries
1/2 cup rum
1/4 cup warm water
3 packets active dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar
5 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter, cut small
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup slivered almonds, blanched
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Place the candied and dried fruits in a bowl. Pour the rum over the fruit, mix well, and let soak for 1 1/2 hours.
In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. of the sugar. Stir and allow to stand for about 5 minutes or until frothy.
Drain the fruit, setting the rum aside, and dry it on a paper towel. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. flour and allow the flour to become absorbed. Set aside.
Heat the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and salt in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rum, almond extract, and lemon rind. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding yeast mixture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 4 1/2 cups of the flour with the milk/yeast mixture. Beat the eggs until frothy and add to the dough. Mix in the softenend butter. Form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a board sprinkled with the remaining flour. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes or until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. Gradually add the fruit and almonds, kneading just enough longer to incorporate them. Place the dough in a buttered mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let stand in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled.
Punch the dough down and divide in half. Let stand 10 min. Roll the halves into 12 x 8-inch slabs approximately 1/2 inch thick. Brush each with 1 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter and sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the remaining sugar. Fold each strip by bringing the edge of one long side to the center of the strip and pressing down the edge. Repeat on the other side, overlapping the folded edges by about 1 inch.
Place the loaves on a buttered baking tray and brush the tops with the rest of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
Bake the loaves on the baking tray at 375°F for 45 minutes or until they are golden brown and crusty. Let cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into 1/2-inch slices before serving.
Have you ever tried Dresdner Stollen? If so, share your experience in the comments below.