One of my favourite seasonal treats is a slice of stollen. The German Christmas cake is made from bread dough enriched with sugar and eggs, dried fruit, spices and candied peel. At its core runs a thick seam of marzipan which any almond aficionado will revel in. A true stollen is also be finished off with a blizzard of icing sugar. This year, rather than make a full-sized loaf for slicing, I though it would be fun to make something a bit more portable, easier to share and a whole lot cuter to boot. Hello mini stollen buns!
What really pleases me about these little bundles of goodness is that the marzipan to bread ratio is that much higher than in a full-sized loaf. And in my little world more marzipan = more yummy. For those less inclined to all things almond (the husband being one) the marzipan can be omitted, in which case I’d recommend making 12 larger buns and eating them warm with a spread of butter. I went for a little added luxury (well it is Christmas after all) and subbed 50g of dried fruit with cherries soaked in Somerset cider brandy which made the dough a little sticky but totally worth the mess! Why not spread some festive cheer around by making a batch to share?
- 350g strong white flour
- 7g dry active yeast
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 150ml milk
- 25g sugar
- pinch salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 100g butter at room temperature
- 200g mixed dried fruit (currants, raisins, cranberries, sultanas, mixed peel, apricots)
- 160g marzipan
- icing sugar to decorate
In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast, cinnamon and cloves.
Warm the milk until hand-hot and stir in the sugar, salt and lemon zest. Pour into the flour followed by the egg.
Mix until the dough comes together then work in the butter until combined. Finally work in the dried fruit (this is much easier done by hand!).
Turn the dough on to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes adding a little flour if necessary. If you find the dough is too sticky to work with cover it with the up-turned mixing bowl and leave to rest for 30 mintues before continuing to knead.
Put the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Rich doughs like this take longer to rise, mine took just over 2 hours!
Once the dough has risen, knead it again to knock out the air and divide into 16 equal portions.
Cut the marzipan into 16 x 10g portions and roll into balls.
Flatten a piece of dough in your hand, place a marzipan ball in the centre and fold the dough around to form a ball. Pinch the dough to seal in the marzipan and place on a lined baking sheet seam side down.
Repeat with the remaining dough leaving plenty of room between the buns as they will expand on their second rise.
Cover with a damp tea cloth and leave to rise for another 45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200°C. Bake the buns for about 15 minutes until golden.
Leave to cool before dusting with plenty of icing sugar.
These are best eaten within a day or two as they can get stale quickly. If you have any hanging around (what were you doing?!) give them a quick blast in the microwave (about 20 seconds) to soften them up. Let them sit a while so you don’t burn yourself on hot marzipan!