Dresdner Stollen

I have never visited Dresden in the far east of Germany, but sure enjoy this traditional seasonal food.

Now here’s a kind of sweet Christmas bread we always had during Advent when I was a child, though bought rather than self-baked.  Last year we got this recipe from a friend and gave it a try.  Turned out very tasty, although technically, we did not make “Dresdner Stollen”: By law of the EU, only Stollen made in Dresden and according to set standards can be sold as “Dresdner Stollen”.  Well, we rather ate than sold ours, and thus avoided the legal hassle.  😉  Oh, incidentally, no marzipan in this one, just almonds.

Stollen has a long shelf life if you can keep it away from hungry people.

Dresdner Stollen

Ingredients (for 2 Stollen)

  • 2 1/2 cups raisins
  • 4 Tbl rum (I use port wine or orange juice)
  • 8 cups flour
  • 2 packages dry yeast (or 2 cubes of fresh yeast, if available)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, soft or melted
  • 1 to 2 cups warm milk (depending on the kind of flour you are using)
  • 1.5 oz almonds, chopped
  • 4 oz candied lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 4 oz candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • unsalted butter for coating
  • confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions

  • Soak the raisins in the rum (or port wine) over night.  You can use orange juice instead, if you wish to avoid the alcohol.
  • Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, zest and nutmeg.  Add melted (but not too hot) butter, then enough warm milk to make a smooth yeast dough.  If butter or milk are too hot, they will kill the yeast.
  • Incorporate almonds and candied peel.  Finally knead in raisins.  Let rise for 1 hour.
  • When the dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Punch down and knead the dough once more, then divide into two pieces and shape two Stollen loaves.
  • Bake for about 1 hour on a baking sheet.
  • Take out of the oven, brush generously with butter and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Store tightly wrapped so it doesn’t dry out.  Tastes great with butter, or dipped in coffee or cocoa, or just as it is.

 

Traditional Christmas Pudding

It’s still time to make a Christmas pudding, folks!

Four weeks a good Christmas pudding is supposed to rest before it is served on Christmas Day, and while our traditional day for preparing the pudding – the Sunday after Thanksgiving, that is – is a bit late this year, you can still do it this week!  It takes a bit of time, but is well worth it.   Here is our recipe – modified from someone else’s in years of practice.  Have fun!

Christmas pudding1

Traditional Christmas Pudding

**  Needs to sit in a cool and dry place for four weeks at least, so prepare it on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but start latest on the evening of 25th of November by marinating the dried fruits over night.  On the next day, the pudding needs to steam for 7 (seven) hours, so make sure you can stay home for it. **

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raisins (can be a mix of raisins, currants and golden raisins)
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 an orange, grated zest and juice
  • 1/2 lemon, grated zest and juice
  • 4 Tbsp port wine
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lard, shredded
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten

Directions

The night before you plan to steam the pudding, mix raisins, apple, zest and juice of lemon and orange and the port well in a large bowl.  Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and let sit to marinate over night.

The next day, lightly butter a 2 1/2 pint (1.4 liter) pudding basin (with or without lid).  Then add the remaining ingredients in the order given above into the fruit mixture and stir well.  I usually work the lard in with my hands.  The complete mixture should have a fairly soft consistency.

When all ingredients are mixed, gather the family around the table for the Christmas pudding tradition of taking turns in stirring, making a wish and adding a few coins.  Use silver coins, please.

Spoon the mixture in the prepared pudding basin, pressing down lightly with the back of the spoon.  Cover with a double layer of wax paper, then put on the lid, or add a layer of aluminum foil and tie it securely with a string.

Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 7 (seven) hours.  Pay attention that the saucepan does not fall dry.  The pudding should be a deep brown color when cooked.  It is not a light cake, but a dark, sticky, dense sponge.

Remove the pudding from the steamer, cool completely (over night).  Remove the paper, cover with fresh paper and put the lid (or aluminum foil plus string) back on.  Store in a cool and dry place for at least 4 full weeks (28 days), until Christmas Day.

***

On Christmas Day, reheat the pudding by steaming it for another hour.  Serve with copious amounts of vanilla sauce.  Leftovers (if any!) can be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and heated through in a hot oven.

Christmas pudding2

 

Need Some Comic Relief?

And a merry, indeed a MERRY Christmas, one and all.

Irish Rovers – Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake

Waiting for Christmas can get a bit stressful, for the young as for the old, though usually for different reasons.  What better to do about it than to have a good laugh, and, not to forget, a little jig to shake off the tension and enjoy the season as we should?

 

%d bloggers like this: