Well, I suppose the stollen could be served anytime. But we always had it on Christmas.
It’s a little fussy to make and takes a few hours, between rising, baking and frosting, but the results are worth it and SO good with coffee. The pic above is of a later years Christmas morning at the Homestead…the entire living room used to be filled like this when all of us kids lived at home. My poor mother would be wrapping until 2:00am most Christmases. 🙂
Here’s the stollen recipe; it’s from a 1965 edition of Family Circle Magazine, and my mother has been making this every year for my entire life. Once I got married and started my own family, I began making it as well – though mine never turn out as nice as Ma’s do!
BREADS — Yeast
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes…makes 2 large loaves
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup (8-ounce jar) mixed chopped candied fruits
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 envelopes active dry yeast
OR: 2 cakes compressed yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
5 cups sifted regular flour
1 cup chopped blanched almonds (I use finely chopped walnuts instead)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar (I use a lot more)
Combine raisins, candied fruits, and orange juice in a small bowl.
Scald milk with sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter or margarine; cool to lukewarm.
Sprinkle or crumble yeast into very warm water in a large bowl. (“Very warm” water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on wrist.) Stir until yeast dissolves, then stir in cooled milk mixture, eggs, and lemon rind.
Beat in 2 cups of the flour until smooth; stir in fruit mixture, almonds, and nutmeg, then beat in just enough of remaining 3 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
Knead until smooth and elastic on a lightly floured pastry cloth or board, adding only enough flour to keep dough from sticking (this is the part that’s always tough for me…figuring out how much to knead it, because there are ingredients in the dough that prevent it from being “smooth” and so difficult to tell if it’s “elastic” yet. If the dough springs back a little when you poke it, then it’s good). 🙂
Place in a greased large bowl; cover with a clean towel.
Let rise in a warm place, away from draft, 2 hours, or until double in bulk. I use my oven’s “proofing” setting, because it keeps it draft-free and just warm enough.
It should look like this on the left when ready for the next step.
Punch dough down; knead a few times; divide in half. Roll each into an oval, 15×9; place on a greased large cookie sheet. Melt remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine in a small saucepan; brush part over each oval; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar; fold in half lengthwise.
Cover; let rise again 1 hour, or until double in bulk. Brush again with part of the remaining melted butter or margarine.
Bake in moderate oven (350°) 35 minutes, or until golden and loaves give a hollow sound when tapped. While hot, brush with remaining melted butter or margarine; cool on wire racks.
When cool, frost and decorate. I use a basic white icing (butter, confectioner’s sugar, a little vanilla and a couple tablespoons of milk), decorated with cut red and green cherries.
It’s really great with coffee…and with just the white frosting, you could serve it anytime!