This fruitcake made from enriched yeast dough filled with a ton of fruit and covered with a ton of powdered sugar is a German holiday staple. There are dozens of varieties with more new variations coming every year. When store-bought it is usually extremely dense and compact, the homemade version is lighter and adjustable to personal preferences.
In my St. Nicholas Day post (here) I tried to give you an overview of all the classic German treats you can make or buy this time of year and the Christmas Stollen (Weihnachtsstollen) is prrobably the most iconic of them all. You can buy them everywhere in a multitude of varieties, there are recipes all over the internet although most of them are obviously in German. Years ago I made a really delicious Christmas Stollen using a Dr. Oetker recipe unaware of the fact that there are dozens of them and I could not remember which one it was. So I have been trying my way through them to find it and this one is it. I made a few variations as the original recipe is overly complicated as well as wet and I wanted the Stollen to be a little less dense. Also I hate raisins, so why should I bake something I dislike this much.
Making this last Christmas Stollen I learned a few things:
- Some recipes are overly complicated
- When you add all the rasinins and fruit the Stollen will double as a weapon
- It is supposed to rest for about two weeks but it tastes really good freshly baked
- No matter how weird the shape powdered sugar fixes everything
- Instead of making one giant loaf, make two small ones as they are easier to wrap
I used this original Dr Oetker recipe (here) in case you are interested in what it is supposed to look like. It is in German though so you have been warned. I made a few small changes to lighten it up. Is there anything worse than a super dense fruitcake? I also skipped the rum raisins, which you could add if you wanted to.
- 450 gr flour
- 100 gr ground almonds
- 10 gr Stollen Spice (recipe here)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 50 gr sugar
- 1 dash of salt
- 175 gr butter or margarine
- 2 eggs
- 100 ml luke-warm milk
- 100-200 gr candied fruits
- melted butter or margarine
- powdered sugar
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well. Add the wet ingredients holding back some of the milk and knead it until it forms a homogenous dough. Add the leftover milk if the dough happens to be too dry. Cover it with a wet tea towel and leave it to prove until it has doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and knead the candied fruits into the dough. Form the stollen by forming a rectangle and folding one third over. Place the stollen on three sheets of baking paper and leave it prove until it has visibly grown in size.
- Preheat the oven to 250 °C for about ten minutes. Reduce the heat to 160 °C and bake the Christmas stollen in the lower third of the oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Brush the hot stollen with some melted butter and sift some powdered sugar over it. You may have to repeat this last step a few times until the melted butter stops showing through. Once cool you can wrap it well in cleanfilm and keep it at a cold spot until Christmas or eat it fresh.