German Christmas Stollen- a family recipe as flavorless as it accusing
Eat This! on Funny not Slutty – Real recipes, made real funny.
by Traci Foust and Max Petersen
Looking for the perfect Secret Santa gift? Need a holiday dessert to let your guests know your cooking sparkles as bright as the star that lead the wise men to baby Jesus? Here’s an authentic and extremely complicated German recipe to show all your loved ones you’re totally fine with settling for their friendship. It’s German Christmas Stollen. Literally translated the word means, mineshaft, a fitting Germanic symbol of how low your enthusiasm will sink once you figure out Trader Joe’s has a whole rack of these dry, tasteless cakes for half of what you’ll spend to make one. This recipe comes with American instructions and was given to me by my Berlinese boyfriend ,who every year around tannenbaum time, kicks me out of my own kitchen with a warning that I not assist his baking in any way lest I, “Fuck the whole thing up with my decorative sprinkles and Americaness.”
Also, the word stollen when said quickly sounds like Stalin which somehow makes everything feel more Christmasy.
Total prep and cook time: 2-3 excruciating hours
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast. If you’re using American yeast, skip the “active” part and look for a packet that’s drinking a Pepsi while sitting in front of The Kardashians.
- 2/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) You may microwave the milk or warm things up with romantic German phrases such as, “If I don’t like your hairstyle I will let you know” or “We can hold hands once the ferry has started and things have calmed down a bit.”
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/3 cup softened butter. You can soften butter over a warm sauce pan or teach it American work ethics.
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/3 cup sultana raisins
- 1/3 cup red candied cherries, quartered. This means to divide into four equal parts.
- 2/3 cup diced candied citron, This can be lemons or oranges. Diced means to cut small. For those of you in the Southwest regions, find the trees with the yellow ovals or the orange circles. Pick some.
- 6 ounces marzipan. This is a type of almond paste.
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Much as a good German parent dissolves a youngster’s sense of safety and well being by reading passages from Der Struwwelpeter
Let stand until milk is creamy and/or the time it takes to make a child cry
(about 10 minutes.)
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, white sugar, salt, butter, and 2 cups bread flour; beat mixture well you can also make the ingredients fight by siding them against in each other. Tell the butter you believe he is much too intelligent to share a bowl with something that was voided from an orifice of a hen. Remind the salt of its near holy superiorness and ask it why it bothers to touch common flour.
3. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, raisins, dried cherries, and citrus peel. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes, though the average Germans accomplish this task in 1 minute or less.
4. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl. Turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth. Dampen cloth like a true German best friend would dampen your sprits by reminding you on the day you get out of rehab, 1 out of every 4 alcoholics fall off the wagon within the first year of recovery.
Things to do while you’re waiting for the dough to rise:
Send your mother an email forgiving her for being so emotionally distant.
Write a check to Greece.
Discuss the inferiority of the American health care system and why type II diabetes
is actually a little bit funny.
5. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Germans typically time this by writing a musical masterpiece. Americans should spend this time preheating their oven to 350 degrees.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack by completely ignoring it even if it looks at you in a way that says, “I need you to be here now.” Dust the cooled and now slightly suicidal loaf with confectioners’ sugar then sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Break out the festive black turtleneck and serve on the good dinner plates your sister tried to take after your Oma Mueller died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Traci Foust is the Author of the newly released book Nowhere Near Normal- a Memoir of OCD (Simon and Schuster/Gallery) acclaimed by National Public Radio, the San Diego Union Tribune and Marie Claire. Her work has appeared in several journals including The Nervous Breakdown and the Southern Review. She is currently working on her second book We’re Taking you to a Place Where you can Get Some Rest, A cautionary collection of essays on mixing Vicodin with Vodka and why dating your psychiatrist isn’t always the best way to get your own prescription pad.