Butter Stollen with marzipan for Christmas. One dough, two loaves of delightfulness. An authentic German recipe, as reliable as delicious its product is.
My childhood Stollen
My Grandma used to bake Stollen every Christmas. There would be two kinds (and probably at least three loaves of each): Mohnstollen, a rolled-up log filled with a swirl of sweet poppy seed filling, and Nussstolen, ditto, but with a nutty swirl.
She never made the third classic kind: the fruit, peel and almond Stollen. I wonder why? Perhaps because she would use up all the fruit and nuts in her fruitcake, which was packed with raisins, sultanas, peel and a multitude of other goodies.
I used to enjoy Mohnstollen, but the Nuss one I would only eat having scraped the filling out of my slice entirely; an empty swirl of dough on my plate. Children really have no idea of good things, do they? Because nut Stollen is the loveliest thing you could make for Christmas.
Stollen is a must for Christmas
I have baked gorgeous Stollens before, and this is a great recipe if very simple. But then Stollen is not a complicated bake – nothing like the attention-seeking panettone which demands an exclusive relationship for at least a week of your life.
The classic fruit and almond Stollen is the easiest: make the dough, stuff it with so much fruit, peel and almonds till it seems there’s more fruit than dough, add a sausage of marzipan just in case it wasn’t rich enough and bake.
The nut filling, let alone poppy, is more complex as it involves rolling the thing out, then rolling it up. But the dough is lovely to work with, pliable and rollable, so it isn’t a huge challenge.
This recipe is a little peculiar; you would not expect to mix your starter dough with what basically amounts to buttercream! Yes, it is a butter Stollen all right – a whole packet of butter goes into these two loaves. Plus the fruit, the nuts, more butter to coat the Stollen after it’s baked, and sugar, and icing sugar – it’s just as well Christmas it once a year.
I found the recipe at fragMutti while looking for a Stollen tin. Not that it is necessary to bake your Christstollen in one – the rustically swaddled loaf looks possibly prettier than the weird triangular one, plus it remains a secret to me how to keep the tin upright in the oven for the duration of the baking.
But the recipe is perfect – translated painstakingly with an old-fashioned dictionary and my own meagre German as I don’t trust Google with such serious endeavours. The marzipan is superb: if you own a food processor or a nut grinder, it will make a very short shrift of the job but even kneading by hand isn’t too taxing.
The starter has an enormous amount of yeast in it but then to carry so much butter and fruit, it needs to. It’s easy to mix and it rises for half an hour while you prepare the nut filling and soak the fruit with rum.
Butter Stollen with nut filling
The nut filling is made easy again with help from a food processor. Start with whizzing the nuts into not quite powder – it’s nice if there are a few chunky pieces in the mass. Then all the rest comes in and a couple of whizzes later, there’s gorgeous filling that you could be tempted to eat on its own with a spoon.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily bash the ingredients together with a spoon, provided you are using ground nuts.
Butter Stollen with fruit
And then the surprising main dough: butter, butter and more butter! The longer you knead the final dough, the better but within reason. Then divide it in two, one portion is rolled out into a nut filled log and the other almost disappears smothered by all the fruits and almonds. Try to fold them in patiently so they aren’t popping out of the dough merrily but are incorporated within. It’s a tedious job but it pays off.
If you like a challenge, go and consult my Mohnstollen recipe for the poppy seed filling instructions, in order to create a Stollen trio. Which is your favourite one?