This time of the year, in Germany, enjoy the most famous german Christmas cake, called Stollen or Christstollen. A delicious cake full of nuts, raisins and candied fruit.
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup candied lemon peel
25 gr candied orange peel
50 ml dark rum
1 envelope yeast
125 ml milk
50 gr sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsps lemon zest (or zest from 1 lemon)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
200 gr sweet, unsalted butter
100 gr flour
1/3 cups almonds (blanched, peeled and chopped)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Soak raisins, candied fruit and almonds in rum overnight, stirring occasionally. Dissolve yeast in warm milk and along with a pinch of sugar. Let it proof for 10 minutes, or until bubbles form. Mix flour, egg, yeast mixture, sugar, lemon peel, vanilla and salt with a spoon or in a stand mixer, for several minutes, using the dough hook. The yeast dough should just come together, but not very smooth yet. Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and 2/3 cup flour with the nutmeg and cardamom until smooth. Add the yeast dough back to the bowl and work the dough with a dough hook or by hand until the butter and flour mixture are completely incorporated. This should yield a smooth dough. Let dough rest, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn dough out onto a tabletop or lightly floured board. Knead in fruit and chopped almonds.
Let rest for 15 minutes. Return dough to floured board and form into a rectangle with two high sides and a dip in the middle. Fold 1/3 of the dough over to the middle, filling the dip. Pat into a stollen shape. Fold a piece of aluminum foil several times on the two long ends to build walls for your stollen, to help hold its shape while baking.
You may also use a stollen pan if you have one.Let stollen rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Preheat oven to 180C. Dot the top of the stollen with butter. Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, or until loaves are golden and done. Cover with foil if it begins to brown too much. Brush warm loaf with butter and dust thickly with powdered sugar. Cool on rack.Wrap tightly in foil and keep in a cool place for 2 to 3 weeks to ripen. Enjoy!