Traditional Christmas recipe
A day in advance of baking:
Mix dried fruit, nuts and liqueur together in a bowl and let them sit overnight.
Day of baking:
Heat up milk to lukewarm. In a 2 cup measuring cup or medium size bowl mix the yeast in the milk with a fork until it is dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and 3 tbsp flour. Cover with plastic and let sit for 20 minutes. This will rise quite a bit.
In a mixer with the dough hook, combine the yeast mixture, flour, nutmeg, ground ginger, cardamom, orange zest, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, almond flour and 1 oz marzipan and knead until dough forms.
Add soaked fruit and nuts to the dough. You may need to do this by hand. make sure the mixture is evenly incorporated.
Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat you oven to 350F
Punch down and knead the dough again. Divide into 2 if making 2 loaves. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Form each of the 2 doughs into an oval shaped loaf at least 3 inches apart. To make the loaves, flatten one side of the dough. Shape the marzipan or pistachio paste into a long log about an inch in diameter and place about 3 inches from the edge not quite in the middle and keeping 2 inches at each end. Bring up the flattened end about 1/4 up, then press out and fold over the other side about 3/4 over closing up the loaf. The dough should be hugging the marzipan. There should be a small mound on top of the loaf. Make sure the loaf is sealed all around.
Bake the stollen for about 45 -60 minutes until there are golden brown. You know they are done when the loaves sound hollow when knocking on the bottom.
While the bread is baking, melt the butter and make the cardamom sugar to sprinkle on top.
Immediately brush the loaves with the melted butter. Don’t forget to brush the bottoms. Continue to let the loaves soak up the butter then add another layer. Then sprinkle each loaf with the cardamom sugar.
Put on a cooling rack and let completely cool. This will take about an hour.
On a large baking sheet, liberally coat the loaves with the powdered sugar. ( Don’t wear black like I did. )
Wrap the loaves in parchment paper and seal well. Store in a covered container. Cover with another layer of powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
This bread can be sliced and put into the freezer and stored up to 6 months! Just wrap it tightly. It actually gets better the longer it sits so you can make this way ahead of time for gifts and the holidays!