This months daring bakers challenge was to make stollen which according to our friend Wiki has been around since before 1474. I did make stollen it just wasn't quite the recipe from the bakers challenge. Was this challenge a success? I will give it a 50/50. The stollen is AMAZING. First the smell hits you and then the taste... its outta this world. I made this bad boy last night and we ate a piece about three in the morning and then really cut into it today. I am definitely adding this one to my repertoire and my sweets for holiday list! Tonight we had it with some Marzipan coffee and it was delectable!
(delightfully modified from King Arthur website)
2 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
1 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim milk type
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit blend; or 1/2 cup golden raisins + 1/2 cup of your favorite dried fruits, chopped to 1/2" pieces if necessary
Reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you use salted butter
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then blend it into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, egg, vanilla, and flavors.
Toss the fruit and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until most of the flour is moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it two or three times, until it holds together. Divide it in half.
Roll each piece of dough into an 8" x 7" oval about 1/2" thick.
Fold each piece of dough roughly in half, leaving the edge of the top half about 1/2" short of the edge of the bottom half. Should you fold the long way, or the short way? The long way will give you a longer, narrower stollen, with shorter slices; folding the short way will give you a wider, fatter stollen, with longer slices.
Use the edge of your hand to press the dough to seal about 1" in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape. It's also the familiar Parker House roll shape, if you've ever made them. *
Place the shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the stollen till they're very lightly browned around the edges, about 40 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.
Remove the stollen from the oven, and transfer to a rack. Brush them each with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter and Rum. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners' sugar.
Allow the stollen to cool, then brush with butter again, and sprinkle with sugar again. Wrap in plastic wrap till ready to serve.
I severely changed the protocol here :
roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
put a 1/4 inch "snake" of marzipan in the center.
Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape. Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough. Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape.
Blog Checking Lines:
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