The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
The December Daring Bakers selection this year was a lot less work than last years. And that's a good thing because, while I've been absent this month here, busy doing the usual holiday bustle, I managed to complete this challenge just an hour before heading out of town for the holidays. That gingerbread was a tad more drawn out affair last year! The reason I could pull it off is that a stollen is one easy holiday bread, yet so incredibly impressive! Shhh... don't tell!
The dough is an easy sweet bread dough studded heavily with dried and candied fruits. I made the dough the day before in minutes and put it in the fridge for almost 24 hours to rise. A 2 hour rest to warm up, then a quick roll and before you know it this is in the kitchen tempting me to stop the holiday prep, gift wrapping and all around rushing to eat a piece of this with tea.
I made one of these for Christmas day breakfast last year, although in a more less festive, yet more manageable shape. There's something so appropriate about a holiday bread, full of the dried and candied fruits and nuts that mean less than they did centuries ago when that was the only way you would have enjoyed a fruit in December. Last year I made a marjipan stollen, which takes the treat to to a new level by wrapping the dough arounda generous log of almond paste. Each slice has a coin of sweet, nutty candy! This year my version is a cranberry orange which is less traditional, but certainly bright and sunny. My cranberries had been soaking in bourbon for a week and are lovely. A jar of homemade orange peel was a natural addition.
If you still haven't decided on something festive for one of your holiday tables, give this a try. It keeps beautifully, so you can do what I'm doing and just make it and leave it out for people to nibble.
Need some more Christmas morning breakfast ideas a little different than this unfortunately named breakfast tradition...
This Christmas I'll be making another Spinach Strata. Melty cheese, soft spinach, puffy and crunchy bread surrounded with an eggy custard. A revelation really. Best part? Its entirely made the night before and thrown in the oven in the morning. Beautiful!
And with that I leave you, gifts packed, wine corked, cookies cooled and on the road I go!
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope the holidays are full of , what else, great food, lovely wine, and even better company whether just you and yours or a house full of family and friends.