I’ve become sort of a resident snack-bringer for the community choir I sing in. As those who know me already know, and those who find my blog soon find out, baking is a bit of an obsession for me. I never tire of the fascination of turning endless combinations of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs into delicious things. I never tire of the amazement of having something turn out just like things I’ve bought, and I usually attribute it to a good recipe rather to any indefinable magic coming from my fingertips.
So as you can imagine, new baking projects are constantly filling up my imagination, and I’ve been known to bake several different batches of items, when it’s just my husband and I in the house, and most people I know are on a diet. On an impulse last year, I brought cookies to choir rehearsal, and they were snatched up pretty quickly, and it’s become kind of a tradition. I don’t bring them every week, but it definitely gives me an outlet.
The first semester of our season ends tomorrow evening, and for the past few rehearsals, I’ve been getting increasingly seasonal. Having an abundance of hand-candied citrus peel and hand-glaceed cherries, I sought out a recipe I could use them in, and settled on stollen, a German Christmastime bread with a center of marzipan. I made some tweaks to the recipe I based it on, and it came out redolent of spices and rum. I definitely recommend it!
stollen (makes 1 loaf)
- 1/2 c. glaceed cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 c. candied citrus peel, chopped
- 1/2 c. currants
- 1/4 c. spiced rum
- 1 c. + 3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
- 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. wheat gluten (aka gluten flour)
- rounded 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. each cardamom, cloves, and allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2/3 c. milk
- 9 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 egg + 2 egg yolks
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- 8 oz. marzipan, rolled into a cylinder
- 1/2 c. melted butter
- 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
- Mix glaceed cherries, candied citrus peel, and currants in a bowl. Pour spiced rum over and mix. Let macerate for about 20-30 minutes before and during preparation of the bread dough, stirring occasionally.
- Pour some of the milk into a small bowl and heat until warm in the microwave. Add yeast, with a pinch of sugar, and let stand a minute to be sure it foams.
- Combine 1 c. of the whole-wheat flour, the all-purpose flour, wheat gluten, sugar, salt, and spices. Whisk briefly to combine.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour and remaining milk. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, only about a minute or so. Let cool for a moment, and then add melted butter, eggs, lemon zest, and macerated fruit, along with all of the spiced rum.
- Add the yeast, and wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
- Rest 15 minutes.
- Knead until the dough is smooth.
- Rest until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Pat the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Place the marzipan slightly off-center, and roll the dough over it, pinching the ends to seal.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and rest the dough until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
- When cool, brush with melted butter and dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.
- Wrap tightly and keep for several days to age the bread before slicing and serving.
candied citrus peel
- assorted citrus fruits (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, buddha’s hand, etc.)
- With a paring knife or vegetable peeler, slice off long strips of citrus peel. Be sure there is as little pith as possible. Slice into thinner strips.
- Bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil, and add citrus peel strips. Boil about 10-15 minutes, or until a piece of peel when removed is soft, chewy, and sweet.
- Drain syrup and keep for things like cocktails. Spread peel strips in a single layer on racks to dry.
- Toss in granulated sugar, and store in an airtight container.
- 1 lb. cherries (fresh or frozen), pitted
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. water
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Boil.
- Seriously, that’s it.
- Okay, it might take about a half hour. You want the cherries to be soft, cooked, and the syrup to be thicker and sticky, like syrup. It will thicken up a lot once it has been refrigerated. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
marzipan (makes about 2 lbs.)
- 1 lb. blanched almonds
- 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 egg whites
- Grind almonds to a fine powder in a food processor. Pour out into a bowl and add confectioners’ sugar. Whisk briefly to combine.
- Add egg whites and stir until it is evenly combined. Knead once or twice to be sure it comes together.
- Roll or shape, or just eat it plain!