Buttery German Christmas Stollen With Marzipan, a tradtional sweet bread
Place the mixed fruit (excluding almonds and citrus peel)in a bowl. Pour hot boiling water over it and let it soak for an hour. Add fresh orange juice and cover it. I prefer to soak this for at least 24 hours.
Soak around 100 gm almond in hot boiling water for half an hour. Peel the almond and dry it completely. Or else you can very lightly roast the almonds too so that all the moisture is dried up. Take care not to brown the almond. Almonds should remain white.
Roughly chop the almonds.
In a dry grinder jar, add the almonds along with 1/2 tsp cornflour. Grind it to fine powder.
This should yield roughly 1 cup almond flour.
To the 1 cup almond flour, add 1 cup powdered sugar, almond extract, rose water, honey or golden syrup and pulse it till you get a solid mass.
Mix it with hand. Place it in a cling plastic wrap, fold it and roll it till you get a 7-8 inch long cylindrical log shape.
Warp it nicely and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Marzipan will firm up in the fridge and will be ready to use.
To the lukewarm milk add 2 tablespoon sugar and 2 tsp yeast. Mix it thoroughly and keep it in warm place till the mixture is frothy.
Sift the flour with salt, add butter, egg, remaining sugar, vanilla extract, almonds, candied citrus peels. To this add the yeast milk mixture, mix it properly with a spoon until it comes together.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, grease the dough lightly with oil , wrap it ( I use a clean kitchen towel, you can use plastic wrap too) and place the dough in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in volume.
Since we make this in winter months, I usually proof the dough in the microwave. For that I switch on the microwave for 30 sec and then place the bowl tightly and cozily wrapped with double layer of kitchen towel and shut the door of the microwave. Alternately you can do the same in oven too by warm up the oven slightly and placing the bowl in it
Punch down the dough and knead it lightly. Squeeze out all the liquid from the fruit mix and add it to the dough. Try to incorporate all the fruit mix in the dough and knead. This will take sometime. If requires lightly grease your hand with oil and knead it. The dough will be little wet or slightly sticky.
Grease a baking sheet, spread the dough. Place the marzipan log in the center of the dough.
Fold the left side of the dough to cover the marzipan and then fold the right side of the dough over on top of the left side. Pinch and fold the ends of the dough to cover the marzipan and using your hand try to shape the dough into a oval loaf.
Cover with a kitchen towel, keep it in a warm place until it proofed nicely and dough becomes very puffy. This might take around another 1 hour.
Pre heat the oven at 180 C / 350F. Bake the stollen for 40 min till golden brown.
Once the stollen is baked and out of the oven, poke holes all over it and generously brush it with butter. Wait for few minutes till all the butter get soaked up by the bread nicely and follwed by a gentle shower of sugar dusting.
Loosely wrap the stollen in clean cloth kitchen towel and let it cool completely. This will take another 3-4 hours depending upon the room temperature.
Once the stollen is completely cooled down, give it a generous dusting of sugar so that it should looks like snow covered completely. Wrap it in plastic cling wrap tightly, take care not to expose it to air. Cover with cloth kitchen towel, use a double layer if requires and keep it in dark corner of the kitchen.
Let the stollen rest for 24 hours and slice it next day.
On day 2, if the stollen looks little dryish, then warm it up in the microwave for 10 sec, butter it and serve it with hot coffee .