Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Few Stollen Moments

Once upon a time there was a girl called Whitney and she sang like an angel.  This post is not about her, although I could not resist naming this post after one of her greatest hits.  This year, I decided to try out my baking skills on that well-known German Christmas favourite, stollen. 

To be honest, I did not intend to write about stollen this year.  I meant to share about my first experience creating a beautiful, iced sugee cake.  But the icing turned out a little less stiff and somewhat messy.  Certainly nothing to post pretty pictures about.  So, in the tradition of sharing a recipe every Christmas, I decided to go with the stollen.  After all, there are Eurasians of German descent too (at least I think so).  And we've gone through the pineapple tarts, mince pies, sugee, fruit cake, shortbread etc etc.  

Stollen is essentially a yeasted bread, filled with fruit and marzipan, and covered with a snow-like layer of icing sugar.  I took up breadmaking this year and frankly enjoy kneading the bread, the texture and heft of the dough, the smell of bread baking in the oven and of course the delectable goodness of freshly baked bread.  So when I found a nice-looking recipe from Paul Hollywood (of Great British Bake-off fame), I knew it was time to do a Christmas bread.

It's a straightforward recipe - prepare the dough, add the fruit and spices and let it rise, then roll it out, and add the marzipan.  Many recipes require that the marzipan be rolled up like a sausage in the middle of the loaf but Paul's doesn't - you roll it out thinly and then roll it up with the dough.  This way the marzipan is better distributed in the loaf itself.  (I used half the amount of marzipan stipulated in the recipe.... ours is not a sweet toothed family, and the dried fruit is already sweet.) Let stand for another hour, then bake.

So does it look like a babe in swaddling clothes?
When ready, it is apparently meant to resemble the baby Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes.  Indeed my effort did have a certain resemblance....

I should probably have left it in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, for it did turn out a little underbaked (as Hollywood would say). But it was still a tasty, buttery, fruity loaf, full of Christmas flavours. Perfect with a cup of coffee, for a stollen moment on a busy Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas to all!


  1. A belated Happy New Year to you Katong Girl and everyone.
    I can't eat stollen. Its too sweet and rich for me. After 2 pieces I feel nauseous. The ones I've eaten so far tasted like dried fruit cake. I'll stick to a moist fruit cake lol.

  2. Hi Jean, nice to see you online. I eat my stollen slightly toasted with a little bit of salted butter on top. Still rather sweet but the warm toasty flavour and the saltiness of the butter make up for it a little. But I think a simple fruit loaf ( without marzipan) is the way to go if I want a fruity bread.

    Definitely, there is no substitute for a Christmasy fruit cake!

    1. Good idea about toasting it and spreading salty butter. We use a lot of salted butter (demi-sel in French) at home. I'll give it a try. Next stop CNY! I'll be trying to make bak chang with some Cambodian galpals. I'm not gifted in the kitchen but the attempt will fun anyway.
      Sadly we're not sure of having the annual big parades of lion dances and stuff by the Chinese and Vietnamese communities here due to the terrorist threat that's still hanging over Paris.



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