My heart's been stollen... I'm having a stollen moment... I feel like I've stollen second base... I've stollen a bit of stollen... Okay, it's Friday and I've had a Stoli.
Ginger and Orange Stollen
slightly adapted from here
Makes 2 loaves
1 cup sultanas
1 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup crystallised ginger, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup Cointreau
350g unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup full cream milk
4 cups "00" flour (or plain flour)
1 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from about 2 large oranges)
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons ground ginger, divided
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
Put the sultanas, cherries, crystallised ginger, almonds and Cointreau into a bowl, stir to mix and leave at room temperature overnight to plump up the fruit.
The next day, heat 225g of the butter and the milk over a low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches about 37C or blood temperature.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup of the caster sugar, orange zest, yeast, 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger,cardamom, nutmeg and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour mixture with the warm milk mixture and beat on low speed until it becomes a shaggy dough. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for about 10 minutes until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rest for 2 hours.
Punch the dough down and add the fruit mixture. Put the bowl back on the mixer and beat on low for a few minutes until the fruit is evenly distributed through the dough. It will be pretty sticky.
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Divide the dough into two even portions and shape them into long ovals. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Leave them in a warm place to rest for about an hour. The dough will not rise very much as the amount of fruit and alcohol will inhibit the yeast. These are dense, heavy "stick-to-your-ribs" loaves - nothing light and airy about them.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake the loaves for 50 - 55 minutes. Melt the remaining 125g butter and as soon as the stollen comes out of the oven, brush the tops and sides generously with it (using up all of the butter).
Combine the remaining 3/4 cup caster sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon ground ginger and sprinkle it over the warm, butter smeared loaves. This will give you a thick layer on the top and sides of each loaf. Cool them completely.
Once cooled, sprinkle with the icing sugar and wrap them lightly in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Leave them to mature for at least 3 days before slicing. The butter and sugar on the outside forms a delicious crust and all the flavours of the fruit and booze become mellow as it ages.