Christmas Stollen with Marzipan and Rum Frangipane Filling

December 10th, 2009 by megan · 7 Comments

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Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

The title of this post is a bit of a mouthful, I know. But I didn’t want you to think this was just any old stollen. First, I baked this stollen in honor of the Bon Appetit holiday bake-off and party, which I was super thrilled to be asked to participate in. Second, I think that this stollen has lots going for it. Candied fruit, tons of butter, marzipan, and a delicious almond-rum filling. Some of you may be asking, “But what is stollen, anyway??” Well, I’m here to tell you. Stollen is a German yeasted sweetbread-cake thingy that is traditionally served for Christmas. It was apparently invented in Dresden, Germany, and is said to resemble the baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes. (I’m not so sure about how much my stollen resembled the baby Jesus, but it makes me giggle a little bit.)  Sometimes stollen has a yummy rope of marzipan hidden in the center (I loooove marzipan), sometimes not. It almost always has candied citrus peel (e.g., candied orange, lemon, and citron), candied cherries, and raisins. And some form of booze – usually rum, but sometimes brandy or cognac.

Find yourself some high-quality candied and dried fruit – if you can, try not to use supermarket brands of candied fruit (unless you have access to a really, really good supermarket with really, really good candied fruit). This is not to be snobbish but because the candied and dried fruit form the flavor base of the stollen. You could make your own candied peel using this Bon Appetit recipe. You can even make your own marzipan if you’re feeling really ambitious. Also – I didn’t use my stand mixer for the dough; I mixed and kneaded everything by hand. (It doesn’t take very long to make the stollen dough by hand, just a bit more effort in kneading.) I did use a stand mixer for the frangipane filling.

My stollen is based on several recipes all mashed together. The first is from an old-ish German cookbook that I found in a yard sale (and that smells, deliciously, of 50 year old stale cigarettes) from 1969 called The Cooking of Germany. It’s a Time-Life book from their series “Foods of the World,” favorite classics of mine. The second is the Luchow’s German Cookbook, originally printed in 1952. Luchow’s was a famous New York City restaurant opened in 1882. (No, it’s not a Chinese restaurant – there are supposed to be umlauts over the “u”, but I’m too lazy to add them in. I’ve baked a lot of stollen over the last couple of days, OK? I’m tired.) Finally, I used elements of Richard Bertinet’s recipe, which can be found here.

It’s common to “age” stollen, wrapped tightly, for a couple of weeks before Christmas. I think this recipe won’t last for more than 5-6 days at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap. You can also freeze your stollen for up to 3 months, but freezing may affect the texture a bit (i.e., it will likely get a bit dry). Stale stollen can be toasted and spread with (even more) butter.

Lastly, just know that making stollen is an all-day project (or at least a half-day project) due to the various risings that the dough needs to go through.

Makes 4 medium-sized stollen

For the Stollen Dough:
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup mixed candied citrus peel (I used equal amounts of candied citron, orange, and lemon peel)
1/2 cup candied cherries, quartered (if your cherries are really syrup-y, rinse them in cold water first)
1/2 cup golden rum
1/4 cup lukewarm water
Two 1/4-oz. packages active dry yeast (I used Red Star brand)
1/2 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon peel
5 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (one and a half sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small bits and softened
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon butter, melted

For the Rum Frangipane:
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup finely-ground almond meal or almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons golden rum

To Assemble and Fill the Stollen:
Rum Frangipane filling (see above)
14 oz. marzipan, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Glaze and Topping:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden rum
Confectioners sugar


For the Stollen Dough:

  1. At least an hour before you start baking: Combine the raisins, currants, candied citrus peels, and candied cherries in a medium bowl. Pour the rum over the fruit, tossing to coat. Soak for an hour, and up to 2 hours.
  2. Pour the lukewarm water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar, stirring gently to combine. Let the mixture stand in a warm place for 5 minutes or so, or until the mixture gets frothy and doubles in volume.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the fruit mixture and reserve the rum. Pat the fruit dry using paper towels. Place the fruit into a clean medium bowl and toss evenly with the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the milk, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and the salt. Heat over medium heat to lukewarm (110-115 degrees), stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the reserved rum, the vanilla extract, the almond extract, and the fresh lemon peel.
  5. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture, stirring gently to combine.
  6. Measure 5 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast-milk mixture with a fork, about a cup at a time.
  7. Beat the eggs with a balloon whisk until frothy. Stir them into the dough.
  8. Using a wooden spoon, work in the bits of softened butter several tablespoons at a time. The dough will be very wet and buttery.
  9. Spread your counter top or work board with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Flour your hands lightly, gather the dough into a loose ball, and place on the floured board. Knead the dough for 15 minutes, flouring your hands from time to time if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic. (The dough will be uniform in texture, all of the butter and flour will be incorporated, and it will feel very smooth to the touch.)
  10. Add the slivered almonds to the reserved fruit mixture and toss briefly to combine.
  11. Flatten the dough into a rectangle shape (the actual size is not important) and press in half of the almond-fruit mixture. Fold the dough over onto itself and again press out into a rectangular shape. Press in the remaining half of the almond-fruit mixture. Knead the dough very briefly to distribute the fruit and almonds. (Don’t knead for too long or the dough will discolor.)
  12. Coat a deep bowl or rising container with melted butter. Add the dough to the bowl. Brush the top of the dough with additional melted butter. Drape a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) over the bowl and let rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

For the Rum Frangipane:

  1. Combine butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or using an electric mixer) on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the almond meal/flour and mix until incorporated.
  3. Mix in all-purpose flour, then add eggs and rum. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and creamy.
  4. Set mixture aside in a cool spot (do not refrigerate) until ready.

To Assemble and Fill the Stollen:

  1. Lightly flour a work board or counter top. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. With your fingertips, shape the dough into rectangles approximately 9 inches by 6 inches.
  3. Spread the rum frangipane filling onto each rectangle, leaving an inch border all the way around. Sprinkle each dough rectangle with the bits of marzipan.
  4. Fold the stollen: bring one long side of the dough rectangle to the center and press the edge down lightly. Then carefully fold the other side over to the center of the rectangle, overlapping the seam down the center by about an inch. (Like a letter.) Press the edges gently. Lightly flour your hands and taper the ends of each loaf sightly, pinching gently to seal the ends of the dough. Don’t worry if some of the filling seeps out a bit – just wipe off with your fingertips.
  5. Brush two 11-by-17 inch sheet pans with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Gently transfer two loaves of stollen to each sheet pan, leaving at least 4 inches between the loaves. Brush the loaves with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon melted butter.
  6. Set the loaves aside in a warm place for about an hour, or until almost doubled in bulk. (You do not need to cover the loaves with a towel if you buttered them in step 5, above.)

To Bake, Glaze, and Top the Stollen:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the breads, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, 35-40 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  2. Make the glaze: Just before the stollen loaves finish baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the rum.
  3. Take the stollen out of the oven and immediately brush with the melted butter-rum glaze, then thickly dust with sifted confectioners sugar.
  4. Cool stollen completely on a wire wrack.


Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Dec 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Yum! This Stollen looks wonderful, and I love the Rum Frangipane filling!

nina Dec 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I was worth a whole day’s labor. The stolen looks scrumptious!!!

Daily Spud Dec 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I *love* stollen and have been threatening to have a go at making some for a while now. I just need to find the day or half-day needed to do it!

Caroline Wright Dec 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hey! I just wanted to say how great it was to meet you at the BA Bake-Off, and to taste this delicious stollen. Fun to know another neighbor/Brooklyn food blogger! I look forward to reading about the fun things that come into your kitchen…

zested Dec 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I had no idea what Stollen was before this week – thanks for the info!

katiek@ kitchensidecar Jan 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Holy crust. This is dedication. I started down this road, but stopped after I made the candied orange peel. It seems that had eaten them all.

thelma Dec 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

This recipe looks very hard.

I’d rather steal one of these pastrys than make it.

Is that why they call it stollen ??

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