Thursday, November 26, 2009

CANNOLIS WITH CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE CREAM AND PISTACHIO CREAM SAUCE

HOLY CANNOLI, REDUX!

So, I’ve made them before and I’ll make them again, the Italian Cannoli, that delightful little tube of crispy, flaky, delicious pastry filled with luscious, sweet cream, flavored as you like, often studded with chopped chocolate or nuts or candied fruit. My first try at Cannoli was a roaring success, so I was delighted to discover that Cannoli was this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. I would have the chance to try a new and improved filling and enjoy this wonderful Italian specialty once again.

My first Cannoli: December 2008

As you know, I fly over a hop, skip and a jump to London today for a foodie weekend!It’s Food Blogger Connect! Food, fun and party with a conference thrown in and, boy, am I excited. I leave my men to fend for themselves and Marty to sniff around the house looking for mom, a confused, quizzical Boston look plastered onto his tiny head, bat ears on the alert, but quickly forgetting about me until I show back up on the doorstep Monday evening. Yup, you heard right, Monday evening. Mowie of Mowielicious, is graciously putting up with me… I mean putting me up for the weekend and what a weekend! Other than Food Blogger Connect all of Saturday where I’ll be meeting and spending time with some fabulous food bloggers and wonderful friends, where I’ll be speaking about writing for a food blog and finding your voice alongside Jeanne, whose own food blog Cook Sister! is a showcase of wonderful food and fabulous writing, as well as learning great tips and advice from other successful bloggers such as Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? and Kang of London Eater, we’ll be spending as much time as we can discovering the secret, hidden food delights to be found in cosmopolitan London! Ok, ok, in other words, we’ll be eating our way through London, most likely stampeding our way through this great city, elbowing unsuspecting citizens and astonished tourists out of the way in our quest to eat all weekend! And just anything won’t do: we want to savor the best food, the best pastries to be found and all in the best of company!

All this just for the weekend?

Ok, finally off to London and Food Blogger Connect 2009!

And now my cannoli. No time to lose, I’m packed and have one foot out the door (“JP, let go of my coat! I promise I’ll come back! Let go!”) so no time to wax eloquent about cannoli, no time to glorify with seductive, passion-inspiring words the delicate texture of the shell, so flakey and tender with just an adult hint of chocolate and wine, no time to eulogize the smooth, luxurious, sensual creamy filling, chocolaty rich and oh so divine, bursting with flavor in each sexy, luscious mouthful. No time to extol the cool, elegant pistachio sauce, scoop up a spoonful with each bite of cannolo and savor the combination of pistachio and chocolate mingling intriguingly on the tongue, the nutty sweetness of one off-setting and highlighting the deep chocolate richness of the other. No, no, no, don’t ask for I haven’t got the time, I really must dash, must make sure I have everything I need as I brush crumbs from the front of my jacket and dab away the chocolate mascarpone cream that somehow found it’s way smeared across my cheek. Must check for ticket and passport, where are my presentation notes? Gift for Papoose? How in the world did my suitcase ever get so heavy? A last, breathless kiss, a warm Boston nuzzle in that soft spot behind his ear, and off I go!

Hello, London! Yeah, baby!

This month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was chosen by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives and she had all of us jumping up and down with joy. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book. How great are Cannoli? We were required to follow the recipe Lisa Michele presented to us for the shells but the filling was up to us. As I have said, I made Cannoli for the first time a while back and though we all gobbled them down and thought they were fabulous, we felt that the traditional ricotta cheese filling was a bit heavy, a bit too cheesy. So this time I decided to make a cream using mascarpone that I lightened with lots of whipped cream and flavored with, of course, chocolate. To lighten it up, I made and served it with a Pistachio Cream Sauce, a pistachio-infused pastry cream lightened, again, with whipped cream. Perfect!

Cannoli Redux: filled with Chocolate Mascarpone Cream and served with Pistachio Sauce

CANNOLI SHELLS
Lisa Michelle’s recipe

2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs (28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 tsp (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 tsp (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 Tbs (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 tsp (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand *
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk) **
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)

* I used white wine.
** the white is used to seal the dough around the shell


In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor or (as I did, by hand), combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.


Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.


Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.


In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.
Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly. (Don’t forget that the shells continue to brown once removed from the hot oil, so don’t leave them in past the 2 minutes thinking that they are underdone).

Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes (I slightly twist as I pull) with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.


Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in more dough. Allow the shells to completely cook before filling with cold cream.

CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE CREAM
This would also be wonderful used to frost a cake

10 oz (300 g) mascarpone
3.5 oz (100 g) bitter or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Chopped chocolate, mini-chocolate chips, chopped pistachio nuts, or any chopped candied fruit you like to fold in. (optional)
1 – 2 cups (250 – 500 ml) heavy cream
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs Amaretto or more to taste


Melt the chocolate and allow to cool.

Beat the heavy cream with an electric beater, gradually adding the sugar as you beat, until stiff peaks form.

Beat the mascarpone until light, fluffy and creamy. Beat in the Amaretto.

Working quickly, fold the chocolate and the chopped chocolate into the mascarpone until blended. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mascarpone until blended and smooth. Add the extra cup of whipped cream beaten until stiff if you want a lighter cream. Fold in any other nuts or candied fruit as you like. If not filling the shells right away, cover the cream with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator.


PISTACHIO CREAM SAUCE
Without the addition of whipped cream, this is a fabulous pastry cream

2 ½ oz (70 g) green, unsalted pistachio nuts
1 Tbs Amaretto or kirsch (optional)
3 egg yolks (save the whites for your Mac Attack macarons!)
3 oz (85 g) sugar
2 Tbs (25 g) cornstarch
1 1/3 cups (300 ml) milk
2/3 – 1 cup (150 – 250 ml) heavy cream, depending on how light you like it


Grind the pistachios as finely as you can, into a paste if possible, mine were fine dust. Set aside.


In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch until smooth. In a medium-small pan over medium heat, heat the milk until it comes to the boil. Carefully pour some of the milk onto the egg yolk/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from cooking, then whisk in all the hot milk. Pour this back into the pan and return to a medium-low heat and, stirring constantly, bring just to the boil. Once the cream comes to the boil, allow to continue boiling, whisking, for one minute.


Immediately remove from the heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the pistachio cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down onto the surface of the cream to keep a skin from forming and refrigerate until cool.


Once cool, remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator, beat or whisk until cream, then fold in the ground pistachios.


Before serving, whip the heavy cream until soft peak form, or just a bit more. Fold into the pistachio cream. Add as much whipped cream as you like until desired consistency, thicker or thinner. Serve chilled.

To fill the shells:
Using a pastry bag fitted with a wide tube, pipe in the mascarpone cream, filling each shell. The easiest way is to have someone hold the shell upright for you (here is where kids come in handy).


You can also dip or brush the ends of the shells with egg white and coat with ground or finely chopped pistachios before carefully filling with the chocolate mascarpone cream.

Serve with the Pistachio Cream Sauce. Dust with a fine powdering of icing/confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ROSALIE'S BROWNIES


SHARING BROWNIES WITH ROSALIE THEN HEADING TO LONDON FOR FOOD BLOGGER CONNECT

Jamie has been so busy! Most of you know that I leave Friday for London for our very first – oh, but not the last, fear not! – Food Blogger Connect Meet/Lunch/Conference/All Around Fab Time! And those of us organizing (mostly Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets, I must admit, and very talented she is, too) or speaking are scrambling to get everything done before Saturday or earlier for those of us coming in from out of town. Furiously writing speeches, packing, cleaning and baking for those we are leaving behind to fend for themselves over the weekend and we are all going a bit nuts. On top of that is our Daring Baker’s Challenge to be posted on Friday morning before I grab my suitcase and jump on the bus that will take me to the airport and London.


And what a tremendous time we’ll be having! Meeting and spending time with some of our favorite food bloggers, the chance to learn, share, connect and network and all over an incredible lunch at London’s best Lebanese restaurant, Levant. We have a line up of talented food bloggers who will be sharing secrets, tips and information on successful food blog writing, photography/food styling, media & social networking.


But I didn’t want to slip away either unnoticed or without leaving you a little something sweet to nibble on. First, as part of the organizing committee with Beth, Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry, Mowie of Mowielicious and Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey? as well as my speaking partner Jeanne of Cook Sister! we just want to bring you up to date on the final preparations for Food Blogger Connect. We are going to have a fantastic weekend and there is still time for you to hop on board and reserve a seat for this tremendous event!

Hello FBC'ers!

It's getting close... Three days to go! I hope you're as excited as we are! It's going to be a blast; delicious food, great topics covered, fantastic goodie bags and much more.

The RSVP response for the first FBC has been tremendous- So far we have 70 confirmed attendees and it is truly international in scope! There are only 10 more seats left, so if you know anyone else that would like to come, or want to help spread the word, then feel free to do so. The last day to RSVP is this coming Wednesday the 25th. They can visit www.rsvpit.com and enter the event code: 2009 along with their details.


To ensure the event is every bit of a success for you, we have come to the decision that it would be best to extend the event by thirty minutes to ensure the speakers are not being rushed and that they are able to cover as much information as possible for your benefit. This means that the event will end at 5:30 p.m versus 5:00 p.m.

We sincerely apologize if this has caused any inconvenience.

The event is being held at Levant Restaurant on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 from 1:00 p.m - 5:30 p.m. The restaurant address is 76 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2SJ. The nearest station is Bond Street Tube and is about a 3-5 minute walk. The restaurant is located directly opposite Costa Coffee. You can review this map for more information. Should you require further information or get lost on the way, then please contact the restaurant at 020 7224 1111.
The payment of £30 will be due upon arrival. Please try your best to bring the exact sum in cash so that we don't eat into the conference time. However, credit card payments will be accepted.

Please be sure to arrive on time. Unfortunately, we cannot wait for everyone to arrive in order to begin the event, so do ensure you allow sufficient time for your travels.

As some of you may already know there are on-going tube closures- I highly recommend you visit the Transport for London website and plan your journey accordingly.

Don't forget a notepad and pen... there will be loads of useful information you will want to jot down. Also, feel free to bring your cameras with you. We are always in need of photos to publish on the website after the event.

If for any reason, your plans have changed and you are no longer able to attend, please reply to this email and let us know. We greatly appreciate your courtesy in this matter.

A group of food bloggers are also organizing a Foodlovers Marylebone VIllage Walk for Sunday, November 29th, 2008. We will be meeting at Baker Street Tube station at 11:30 a.m and walking to the market from there. If you are interested in participating do let us know!

Please do not hesitate if you have any more questions! And check out the new website for Food Blogger Connect: a place where you'll find stories, photos and videos from the First Food Blogger Connect and information concerning the next!

Much love from the FBC Committee.



And now I would like to leave you until Friday with a little sweet from a little sweet : meet Rosalie. Before we moved, we were neighbors with Rosalie, her mom and dad, Julie and Manu, and her new sister, Anita. They are the one thing we left behind that we truly miss, especially Rosalie: her incessant, chirpy chatter, usually the one bright spot on a gray day, her tales of being “la grande soeur”, the big sister, though, according to maman and papa she sometimes may approach her job a little bit too rambunctiously, her obvious joy of cake and cookies, a joy for a baker to have over! We recently had them over to the new apartment for lunch and Rosalie – with a little help from Julie – made brownies for dessert and arrived proudly carrying her little bundle of joy (the pan of brownies, not Anita), offering as nectar to the gods. They were delicious! Delicate and fudgy at the same time, chock full of chocolate flavor with the added texture of chopped pecans and so simple to put together, simple enough for an enthusiastic 5 year old. You know dessert is a success when the chef – Rosalie – eats one piece after the other…


ROSALIE'S BROWNIES

6 ½ oz (200 g) dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet
10 Tbs + 1 tsp (150 g) butter
¾ cup (5 oz, 150 g) sugar
heaping ½ cup (2 oz, 60 g) flour
½ - 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter a 10-inch (26 cm) pie tin.

Melt the chocolate and butter together either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, whisk in 4 eggs until blended and smooth.

Stir in the sugar and flour just until well blended. Stir in the coarsely chopped nuts.

Scrape batter into the prepared pie tin and smooth. Bake for just 17 minutes; the brownie should be just barely set in the center, still a bit wet.

Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to warm or room temperature before serving with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk. Perfect with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Or as is! With neighbors, of course!

Monday, November 23, 2009

CHRISTMAS (DRESDEN) CRANBERRY SPICE STOLLEN

IN THE AIR THERE’S A FEELING OF CHRISTMAS
-Jay Livingston/Ray Evans 1951


Strings of little white fairy lights twinkling like a million stars over our heads, swags of gaily-colored bulbs dancing in the darkness, our hearts burst to overflowing with the joy of the season. Silly Santas crawling up the sides of buildings and warm, fuzzy snowmen grinning at us with their impossible charcoal grins, inviting us inside innumerable cozy shops filled with red and gold and green and everything we don’t need but so want! Candy shop windows, “les vitrines des confiseries”, elegantly decorated, display boxes of chocolates tied up in gold ribbon, crystal dishes cradling jewel-like bonbons in every color, the romance of Christmas wrapped in tissue paper and dusted with icing sugar. The dream of snow floating down outside the apartment windows is the most exciting thing for this Florida girl, a Florida girl still after all of these years. Snow still excites me like a child on Christmas morning stepping gingerly down the stairs, peeking nervously around the corner to spy the tree and seeing that Santa did indeed, really bring brightly wrapped gifts and place them under the sparkling fir. Holiday music, not so much “Silent Night” or “Little Drummer Boy” as “Christmas Wrapping”, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” piped in all over town, in stores and on the street, like having a joyous, sing-along-able personal soundtrack to my life.

Christmas in Nantes

And the food! Thanksgiving slides rambunctiously into Christmas, a bumpy sleigh ride, and comes knocking on our door, her arms brimming with a cornucopia of delightful seasonal treats: pumpkin and apple pies galore, cranberry relish, cranberry muffins, cranberry-pecan pinwheels and orange-cranberry sweet bread, turkey stuffed with cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casseroles dotted with tiny marshmallows. And those worldly delicacies like Figgy Pudding, Bûche de Nöel, fruitcakes and Panettone. And Christmas cookies tumbling out of the oven batch after batch, butter and spice, gingerbread and chocolate, decorated with frosting and glaze and all kinds of colored sugary things filling the house with that warm, homey, inviting scent of the holidays.


My parents, like JP and I many years later, may have offered us presents once or twice on this holiday that we didn’t celebrate, allowing us the same joy and surprise of waking up and finding something special waiting for each of us as awaited our friends, a fleeting idea, gone the next year as quickly as it had come this one. But as we had no tree, the stuffed tiger that I remember finding one year and that I grew very quickly to love was sitting calmly and silently on the bench in our bare living room next to the other kids’ toys all on their lonesome. We knew there was no Christmas, no Santa Claus, but we loved the gifts all the same. Drawn to the holiday sparkle like moths to a bright light, we would wander the neighborhood early Sunday mornings when the streets were empty, bright and chilly December mornings, excitedly pointing out the wreaths tacked to all the front doors, the Rudolphs prancing on chimney-less rooftops. Or Santas in red velvet cap and brightly flowered swim trunks, that old Florida favorite. Nighttimes we would run through the yards to the street behind our house and see the magic lit up, pale blue and milky white lights creating a mystical haze around the palm trees, the luminaries lined majestically up and down the block, the eerie glow drawing us into a warm embrace. Waiting breathlessly, hands folded like good, patient children, for the neighbors to come over and invite us to help decorate their lovely, elegant tree, all glass balls and feathery angels, plump red bows and shimmering tinsel.


Years later, Christmas in Milan with our two boys, a small tree as the one concession to living in this very religious country and to my in-laws, decorated with handmade treasures; husband and boys spending a Saturday collecting whole walnuts and other collectibles from their nature walk, then stopping in the specialty shop and buying a plastic tube filled with escargot shells then spray painting everything gold and stringing them up on our first, our only, tree. The magical aura of Christmas in Milan, icy nights wandering downtown enveloped in a ghostly mist, Milan a picture postcard of Christmas beauty. We see steam rising from the huge steel drums gracing every street corner, the tantalizing, wintry scent of roasted chestnuts luring us over and we buy a small paper cone filled with these seasonal treats, their earthy, woodsy sweetness better than candy canes or chocolate Santas, the toasty paper warming our gloved hands.

Christmas in Milan

Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I revel in the everyday contemporary rituals, the glorious food, the lights and decorations adorning every shop window, street lamp and front door, the cheerful music that swirls around me everywhere and the goodwill that fills us all. Look out your window or stroll down the street and feel the excitement in the air, the tingle of excitement that sparks that special holiday electricity that zips through each of us, the smells and the sounds, the childlike wonder and we believe in Santa Claus once again. And I often wonder why we can’t keep the lights and decorations up all year ‘round, always fill the streets with heart-warming, uplifting music and keep this wonderful seasonal spirit in us always.


And, of course, tis the season to offer gifts to friends and family, heartfelt, homemade gifts of cinnamon and spice, cranberries and citrus, sweets to delight and bring holiday cheer. I adore cooking and baking for others and Hannukah and Christmas are the perfect holidays for giving gifts from my kitchen. I surround myself with the warmth and the smells of Christmas baking, my kitchen infused with the fragrant melody of cinnamon and yeast, chocolate and nutmeg. I line up shiny aluminum bread tins and fill them with smooth, creamy batter that will rise to become cranberry-walnut or banana-chocolate chip or pumpkin bread. Or I hand roll dense, dark fudgy truffles, spiked with Amaretto or rum, rolled in bitter cocoa powder or colorful sugar sprinkles and slip them into dainty paper cups, gold and silver or peppered with tiny red and green poinsettas. Or beautiful butter cookies, carefully cut out in holiday shapes, stars and trees, reindeer or menorahs or maybe this year they’ll be gingerbread cookies, richly spiced and redolent of molasses.

This week, I tried something new, a Christmas goody that has long intrigued me but one I have never made. Stollen, a specialty of Dresden, Germany, a cross between a bread and a cake, studded with raisins and candied fruit, a hint of rum and ground nuts, generously dusted with powdered sugar and presented in all her beautiful glory on the holiday table. I started with a rather awkwardly translated recipe that had been given to Ayako of Samurai Viking Cuisine, the original traditional German recipe from the book Backen macht Fruede from Dr. Oetker. This was a great challenge for me as a baker! I knew there were both errors and confusion in the recipe but this gave me the chance to fiddle around with it and, going by instinct and using my better judgment, I altered the recipe, fiddled a bit more, replaced the raisins and candied lemon peel with luscious, tangy dried cranberries and the subtle hint of freshly grated orange zest and came up with a wonderful Stollen, if I may say so myself. The bright red cranberries against the golden backdrop of this cakey bread lent it a Christmassy air and the coat of powdered sugar dressed it up like snow on a country hillside.


Stollen, traditionally, is wrapped up in plastic wrap and left out for 2 to 3 weeks, time to allow the flavors to mingle, but I found that eaten warm from the oven the bread is soft and full of flavor, orange and rum and hazelnuts all shining through. The only change I would make would be to divide the dough into 2 or even 3 smaller loaves, allowing one for us and two to give as the perfect Christmas gift!


CHRISTMAS (DRESDEN) STOLLEN

4 cups (500 g) flour, all purpose, type 55
2 tsp (10 g) baking powder
5 ¼ oz (150 g) ground almonds or hazelnuts (I used ground hazelnuts)
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
12 Tbs (175 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 packet (about 1 ½ Tbs, 20 g) vanilla sugar
7 oz (200 g) dried cranberries *
Grated zest of one large orange **
¼ to ½ tsp bitter almond extract
1 Tbs rum
2 large eggs
1 cup (250 ml) quark or fromage frais

For the icing:
3 – 4 Tbs softened unsalted butter
1 ¾ oz (50 g) powdered/confectioner’s sugar

* can be replaced with raisins or a mixture of raisins and dried currents
** can use candied lemon or orange peel if you prefer


In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and ground nuts together until blended. Stir in the cardamom and the nutmeg. Add the butter, cut into cubes, and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour/nut mixture until the texture of damp sand.


Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, dried cranberries and orange zest to the flour/nut/butter mixture and toss well to combine.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, the quark, the rum and the almond extract until smooth. Pour this over the dry mixture in the large mixing bowl and, using a fork or wooden spoon, fold and blend together until all of the dry ingredients are damp and everything pulls together into a dough.


Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 – 20 minutes (the original recipe suggests 20 – 30 minutes but I can’t get beyond 10 at the most!), adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.


Form the dough into a Stollen: a long, flattish, plump loaf with an indentation (made using the side of your hand) all down the center of the loaf.


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 45 minutes (if, near the end, the loaf looks like it is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil) then lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C) and bake for an additional 15 minutes.


To ice:
As soon as the Stollen is out of the oven, brush the entire top and sides with the softened butter. Then generously sprinkle the entire surface with powdered sugar (it should be like a thick layer of snow).

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