Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales!

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Visit our site at /Figgy-Pudding.html to learn more and sign up and get your gift!

Here’s one of the recipes from the book:

 

Stollen of Germany

Historians have traced Christollen, Christ’s stollen, back to about the year 1400 from the town of Dresden, Germany. The first stollen consisted of only flour, oats and water, as regulated by church doctrine during Advent, but without butter and milk (and sugar), it was quite tasteless. Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht requested of the Pope lift the ban on butter and milk during the Advent season. The Pope, in what has become known as the famous “butter letter,” stated that milk and butter could be used to bake stollen, with a clear conscience and God’s blessing, for a nominal fee. :) Originally stollen was called Striezel or Struzel, referring to its shape, and was said to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Around 1560, it became a tradition for the bakers of Dresden to present the King with two 36-pound stollens as a Christmas gift. It took 8 master bakers and 8 journeymen to successfully carry the loaves to the castle. This custom continued for nearly 200 years. Then, in the year 1730, Prince Augustus the Strong asked the Baker’s Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for his farewell party for the army. The finished stollen was a true masterpiece, weighing in at nearly 2 tons and feeding over 24,000 troops.

To commemorate this event, a Stollenfest is held each December in Dresden. The bread for the modern-day Stollenfest weighs approximately 2 tons and measures over 4 meters long. Each year the massive stollen bread is paraded through the city center, then sliced and sold to the public, with the proceeds supporting several local charities. Although there is a basic recipe for making the original Dresden Christollen, each chef, each village and each home baker has their own secret recipe passed down from generation to generation. There are probably as many recipes for stollen as there are bakers who bake it. The commercial recipe for Dresden stollen is closely guarded and licensed to ensure quality and authenticity.

Ingredients

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup diced candied citrus peel
1/2 cup candied cranberries
1/2 cup brandy
4 to 5 cups flour, divided
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (7 oz.) package marzipan
Melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the raisins, currants, candied peel and candied cranberries. Pour the brandy over the fruit and let sit for 1 hour. Drain, reserving the brandy. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels, return to a clean bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, salt and remaining sugar until just lukewarm. Add the milk mixture, vanilla extract and eggs to the yeast mixture and beat with the mixer or by hand with a whisk until incorporated. Beat in the reserved brandy. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Cut the butter into small pieces and beat in. Beat in just enough of the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8-10 minutes. Flatten the dough out, then knead in the candied fruit, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Shape the dough into a ball and place the dough into a buttered glass bowl. Turn the dough buttered side up and cover with a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide into two equal parts. Set one half aside. Roll the other half into a 12-by-8-inch oval. Brush with melted butter.

Divide the marzipan into quarters and roll each quarter into a 12-inch rope. Place two of the ropes alongside each other along the length of the rolled-out dough, leaving a 2 inch space between the two ropes in the center of the rolled-out dough. Fold the long side of the dough over to the center of the oval. Fold over the other long side so that it overlaps the center by about 1 inch, pressing down gently but firmly. Place the finished loaf on a parchment or silicon-lined cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Allow the two loaves to rise until each has doubled in size. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Dust loaves with powdered sugar.

Optional: One cup coarsely chopped dried fruits may be substituted for the candied fruit. Cover the dried fruit with boiling water and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Drain and use in place of candied fruit. This bread freezes nicely for up to 6 months. If freezing stollen, do not sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. To serve, first thaw the bread, then bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 at 7:27 pm and is filed under Homemaking, Homeschooling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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