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Christmas Stollen

Germany's Christmas yeast bread is traditionally made with candied fruits such as cherries and orange peel. This update substitutes chopped dried fruits with excellent results. The bread machine makes the dough, the cook shapes and bakes it.

1 recipe Classic Brioche Dough, prepared up to Step 4; add the dried fruits and nuts
1/3 cup dark rum or brandy (or apple juice)
2 (6-ounce) packages dried fruit bits
Grated orange zest from 1 large orange
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup slivered, blanched almonds

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Soak dried fruits and orange zest in rum (or brandy or apple juice) while preparing classic brioche dough. Sprinkle with flour after one hour.

Add dried fruits and almonds to the bread machine, 5 minutes before the end of the last kneading cycle.

Butter a 3-quart bowl. Place dough in bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Punch down after the first hour. Chill an additional 11 hours.

Butter a large baking pan. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Divide dough in half and roll each piece into a 3/4-inch-thick oval. Brush each oval with melted butter and sprinkle with a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Fold each oval in half lengthwise so that the edges do not meet evenly. Press closed and slide onto prepared baking pan. Brush tops of dough with melted butter and let rise about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush risen loaves with melted butter and bake about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove and cool on a wire rack. Continue brushing the tops of the stollen with melted butter as they cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar when completely cooled.

Makes 2 stollen.

Thursday, December 09, 1999

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