Date, Almond and Clementine Christmas Stollen
I have a special affection for marzipan and almonds,so at every opportunity to create something containing either one of these will be grabbed with both hands. With Christmas just a few weeks away I thought it’s the perfect time for me to make one of my favourite Christmas celebration recipes. As per usual I like to be different and gave this stollen recipe the true British larder twist and experience.
Instead of using candied orange and lemon zest I used fresh clementine zest and I replaced the glace cherries with dates and together with the raisins I soaked these in strong Earl Grey tea.
I had to make this recipe twice, the first attempt (rather shamefully) did not go all that well and let’s say; I made a brick. After twittering about it, Richard Bertinett kindly shared his video link, posted on Gourmet, for making sweet dough.
With new found inspiration and courage I set off to make stollen take 2. I did use Richards advice and adapted his recipe to my liking and taste and the end result was just simply brilliant!
I made two large loaves with this recipe, one to enjoy now and one for the freezer, perfect!
This recipe does require a bit of effort but it’s definitely worth every minute spent making it. I made an egg wash to glaze the stollen, by mixing a whole egg with a splash of brandy and a teaspoon of sugar; I brushed the stollen with this egg drunken wash as I placed the stollen in the oven and then again five minutes before end of the baking time, this gave my stollen a beautifully crispy sweet and glossy crust, delicious.
I served thin slices of stollen slightly warm for afternoon tea along with a lovely cup of earl grey tea and had a slice or two lightly toasted for breakfast. After a few days the stollen will be a touch stale, I find it makes a super delicious bread and butter pudding, now that’s different and definitely worth the effort!
Tea Soaked Dates and Raisins
- 100g chopped dates
- 100g raisins
- 80ml hot strong Earl Grey Tea
- 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- Zest of two clementines
In a small bowl mix the chopped dates, raisins and bicarbonate of soda.
Make the strong tea and while hot, pour 80 ml over the mixed dates and raisins, leave to soak for at least 1 hour.
While the fruits are soaking make the stollen dough.
When you are ready to use the tea soaked dates and raisins, drain off the excess tea and add the clementine zest to the soaked fruits.
Food Fanatics Tips:
I normally use dried dates but if you do have medoul dates to hand remove the stones and cut them in finger nail size pieces. Start the soaking process with the raisins, bicarbonate of soda and the hot tea and soak for 30 minutes. Add the chopped medoul dates and soak for a further 10 minutes. I also find soaking the fruits overnight works perfectly for me, the fruit soaks up nearly all the tea and it makes it easier to work with.
Drunken Egg Wash
- 1 whole small free range egg
- 1tsp Brandy or Dark Rum
- 1tsp caster sugar
Whisk all of the ingredients together, set aside until needed.
- 550g strong white bread flour + a bit extra for dusting
- 14g dried yeast or 40g fresh yeast (do not use fast action yeast)
- 100g unsalted butter, cut into small even size pieces
- 30g vanilla sugar or normal caster sugar
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp ground mixed spice
- 280ml full fat milk
- 2 small whole free range eggs (100g of whole egg)
- 2 x 100g marzipan logs
- 200g of the drained Tea soaked date and raisin mixture
- Drunken Egg wash
- Caster Sugar for dusting
I used a stand up mixer with a dough hook attachment to make my stollen dough however you could easily make it by hand with Richards directions in the video above.
Weigh the flour, yeast, ground mixed spice and butter into the mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix until the butter is rubbed in and represents fine bread crumbs.
Add the salt and sugar and mix swiftly. The sugar and salt can have an effect on the yeast especially fresh yeast and for that reason I add the salt and sugar after the initial mixing stage.
Whisk the whole eggs and milk together. While the machine, with the dough hook, is mixing on low speed (one) add the milk and egg mixture, continue kneading the dough for 8 - 10 minutes on the slow speed setting. The dough will look sticky and wet but it's perfectly good.
Weigh the flour, yeast, ground mixed spice and butter directly into the TM bowl using the build in weighing scales. Gradually turn the dial to 8 for 30 seconds until the butter is rubbed into the flour and represents fine bread crumbs. Add the salt, sugar, eggs and milk, lock the lid and press the pulse button twice. Set the timer for 1 minute 30 seconds, lock the lid and press the dough button. WARNING: this dough is meant to be sticky, do not panic. Continue the recipe as below.
Turn the sticky sweet dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a medium size lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean dry tea towel in a warm place. When I made the second batch of stollen my kitchen was very cold and it took nearly two hours to prove, be warned it does take quite some time. Prove the stollen dough until it has doubled in size.
Turn the dough gently our onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even size logs. Spread and move each log into a rectangle of about 25cm long by 15 cm wide. I try not to use a rolling pin as it compacts the dough too much and all that time waiting for it to prove is sort of defeated, use your fingers.
Spread 100g of the tea soaked date and raisin mixture over each log, fold the dough over to cover the mixture, retaining the 25 cm long side. Take the 100g marzipan log and roll it in your hands to about 10 cm long, place this in the middle of the 25cm stollen dough, roll the dough over the marzipan like an envelope, turn the loaf over so that the joint is at the bottom of the stollen loaf. Do the same with the second loaf.
Place the stollen loaves on a large lined baking tray with a 15cm gap between them. Lightly cover the loaves with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to prove for the second time, about 35 - 40 minutes.
While the stollen is proving for the second time preheat the oven to 180°C.
Once the stollen is ready to be baked brush each loaf generously with the drunken egg wash and dust it heavily with caster sugar. Place in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and throw 100ml of cold water on the bottom of the hot oven, shut the door immediatly and bake the stollen for 40 minutes, repeat the egg wash for the second time and return the stollen to the oven for a further 5 minutes. The reason for the cold water in the oven is to create steam this gives the stollen a lovely crunchy crust and gives the stollen a bit of a lift, it adds to the lightness of the loaves.
Transfer the stollen loaves to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To serve heavy dust the stollen with icing sugar, slice and serve.
Makes two loaves
Food Fanatics Tips
Replace the dates with dried cranberries and if you really want a boozy kick replace the tea with dark Rum, Brandy or Cognac. Make a delicious bread and butter pudding with the left over stollen. This stollen freezes well. If you do decide to freeze the stollen make sure you freeze it on the same day that you have baked them to ensure freshness.