Sunday, January 3, 2010

Twelve Days: Citron is a Sometimes Food


It's almost done. The parties are over. School starts tomorrow. The house is even clean (well almost). I'll pack up the rest of the cookies on Tuesday for Mike's office and the 12th night is Wednesday. Bittersweet days.

On this last lazy Sunday before life begins in earnest again, we finished the last of our stollen, a traditional holiday recipe in my German upbringing. As it was baked a few days before Christmas, the last chunk was a bit dry so we turned it into a brunch-time bread pudding drizzled with maple syrup. Here are the recipes for next year's Yuletide baking and brunch.

Makes 4 loaves

3 pounds 1 ounce all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk, heated to 105º F
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 packages active dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup water heated to 110º F
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
10 ounces currants, soaked in 1/2 cup cognac for 10 minutes
16 ounces golden raisins, soaked in 1/2 cup orange juice for 10 minutes
1/2 pound diced candied orange peel
1/4 pound diced candied citron, optional
1/4 pound chopped dried apricots
10 ounces blanched slivered almonds
Grated rind of 2 lemons
1 stick melted butter
Confectioner's sugar for dusting the loaves

Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of a very large electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. If your mixer is not very large, you should either halve the recipe or make the dough by hand. Stir in the warm milk, butter, dissolved yeast, and eggs. Knead until almost completely smooth. Add the fruit, almonds, and lemon rind and mix on low until almost completely combined. Dump the dough onto a floured board and knead until all the flour is incorporated. Scrape the dough into a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled 1 to 2 hours.

Dump the risen dough onto a floured surface. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12 by 8-inch rectangle. Brush with the remaining melted butter and fold one long edge to the center, overlapping by one inch. Turn it over and taper the ends by rolling each with your hands in opposite directions. Place two loaves on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and them let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

While rising, preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the loaves are hollow when tapped on their bottoms. Cool on a rack.

When cool, dust with confectioner's sugar.

Stollen Bread Pudding

4 cups cubed stollen
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a medium casserole dish and dump the cubed stollen into it. Whisk together the heavy cream, milk, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the stollen. Stir to make sure that all the bread is coated. Let sit for 30 minutes. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the eggs have set. Serve with maple syrup.

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