For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with Christmas cake. My Nanna, then my Mum would make many boiled fruit cakes every year for Christmas as gifts, and the family always looked forward to them. We would also have Stollen at Christmas time as my Nana’s heritage was German. I think I preferred the flaky buttery goodness of stollen – it had all the amazing dried fruits of fruit cake, but was a bit lighter, and I loved the powdery sugary top!
German Stollen has been around for almost 700 years and is recognised around the around as one of the most famous Christmas pastries. Christmas stollen, known in Germany as Christstollen, is a yeast bread that is baked with dried fruits, candied citrus peel, nuts and spices. There are lots of different variations, the first and most famous variety of stollen is the Dresdner Christstollen. Some historians date its origin back to 1329! Other versions include Mandelstollen (almond), Mohnstollen (poppy seed), Quarkstollen (quark), Nuss-Stollen (nuts), Butterstollen (high butter content), Dresdner Stollen and Marzipanstollen.
Fun fact by The Daring Gourmet – King August II in 1730 commissioned the bakers of Dresden to bake a gigantic stollen in celebration of the strength of the Saxon military, an event to which he invited the dignitaries of Europe in the hope of building allies. The stollen weighed 1.8 tonne , was 8.2 metres long and 5.49 metres wide and a special oven was designed and built just for this purpose. It took a convoy of eight horses to transport the stollen to the king’s table and a 11.8kg and 1.6 metre-long knife was used to cut it.
Held annually in Dresden on the Saturday prior to the 2nd Advent is the Dresdner Stollenfest featuring Germany’s largest Christstollen. So far 2013 holds the record for the largest Stollen weighing nearly 4,263kg! Each year a horse-drawn carriage parades the giant stollen through the streets and on to the Christmas market. Per tradition, a replica of the original 1.6 metre long knife is used to slice the stollen. The mayor of the city tastes the first piece and the stollen is then cut into thousands of pieces that are sold with the proceeds going to charity.
For this recipe, I have created my own special Stollen version to hero some wonderful Australian Native ingredients – Australischstollen. This recipe makes small bite-sized pieces of stollen but you can roll the mixture into a large traditional loaf shape if you like.
I have tried to keep fairly true to the original stollen concept, keeping the signature citrus peel and spices, but changing the remaining nuts and fruits to hero some of our wonderful Australian Native ingredients.
Australian Native Fruit & Nut mix
- 250 ml full cream milk lukewarm
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 480 g Lighthouse Bread flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 180 g unsalted butter room temperature
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Gewürzhaus St Nicholas Spekulaas spice mix
- 1 tsp Gewürzhaus Pumpkin spice mix
- if you can’t find this you can substitute with 1 tsp each of ground cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and ½ tsp ground coriander and allspice
- 100 g unsalted butter melted
- 150 g icing sugar for generous dusting
- For the Australian Native Fruit & Nut mix, in a medium bowl add the dried quandong and cover with boiling water to soften for about 10-15mins. Once soft, drain (you can use the liquid to make a delicious sugar syrup for cordial). Add quandong back to the bowl and add the remaining fruit and nuts.
- In a separate small bowl, hydrate the ground wattleseed in the liquor for 5 minutes then pour over the fruit and nuts. Stir to combine. Set aside and let the mixture soak while you make your dough.
- For the dough, in a bowl, stir the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the lukewarm milk and let sit in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy. If your mixture doesn’t froth, it means your yeast is not active anymore and you need to replace it.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining sugar, lemon zest and spices until fragrant. Add the flour and beat until combined. Change to a dough hook, then add the egg, egg yolks, butter, salt, and yeast/milk mixture. Mix until it comes together then knead the dough on low speed for about 8 minutes.
- Remove the dough ball from the bowl, lightly spray the bowl with a little oil, then return the dough ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for at least 1 hour or until nearly doubled in size.
- Once risen, punch down the dough and add the soaked fruit/nut mixture (drain out any excess liquor). Using the dough hook, knead the dough until combined. If the dough is too wet to handle, add a little bit of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- For the strawberry gum marzipan, in a blender, blend the almond meal, icing sugar and strawberry gum ground spice together until well combined. Add the egg white and strawberry gum syrup and blend together until it creates a smooth paste.
- Onto a floured work surface, turn out the dough and cut it in two equal halves. Roll each piece into a long log and flatten out to about 5cm wide and 1 cm thick.
- Divide the marzipan into 2 equal halves and roll these into a long log the same length as your dough. Press the marzipan gently into the middle of the dough.
- Fold the left side of the dough over to cover the marzipan, then fold right side over on top of the left side so that the edge of it sits just left of the middle of the stollen. Press down to seal the edge and create an indent (which is the signature shape of a stollen).
- Cut the logs into bite size pieces about 4cm long and pinch and tuck the cut ends over to cover the marzipan.
- Place the stollen bites onto a greased baking sheet. Cover the stollen loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place for about 1 hour or until puffy.
- Preheat your oven while the stollen rise to 180 degrees Celcius and bake the stollen for 30 minutes or until golden.
- When the stollen are still hot out of the oven, generously brush them with melted butter. Immediately sprinkle with a generous amount of icing sugar, rubbing it all over the stollen. Let the stollen cool completely then give them another dust with icing sugar once cooled.
- The stollen can be served immediately, or wrapped in plastic wrap to let the flavours develop for 2 weeks. The liquid from the dried fruits will further penetrate the dough for more flavour and moisture.
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Disclaimer - Nutritional information is provided as a guide only
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