The ultimate in festive breads, Kerststol, or Christmas stollen if you wish, just hits the spot every time. An enriched yeast dough stuffed with raisins and currents and filled with a core of almond paste. The almond paste we use in the Netherlands is called spijs, and while the cheaper versions will be cut with white beans and apricot kernels, the real deal is all almond and egg and lemon and sugar. You can make it yourself by mixing 150 grams of peeled and very finely chopped almonds with 150 grams of sugar, an egg and a tablespoon of lemon juice. You could also probably use plain marzipan and loosen it with egg and lemon juice. I use raisins and currents as the filling for the dough, but you can have fun with it and add chopped nuts, dried cranberries, sour cherries, even chocolate chips, anything you want.
for the loaf
- 350 g flour
- 80 g butter melted, plus some extra for brushing the loaf
- 150 ml lukewarm milk
- 1 egg
- 60 g caster sugar
- 7 g instant yeast
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 teaspoons of cognac, or rum, or whiskey. Any dark booze will do.
- half teaspoon salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- 300 g raisins
- 150 g currants
- icing sugar to dust
for the spijs
- 300 g spijs, almond paste.
- half a beaten egg or a whole one if using marzipan
- juice of a lemon
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, yeast, sugar and zest together. Then add the milk, cognac, egg and the molten butter. Mix together with a spoon.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and start working it to develop the gluten. This dough is very sticky but keep kneading. After about 10 minutes the dough should stop sticking so much to your hands and you can use the patented closed hand punching technique to get the gluten going. The dough will still be somewhat sticky but also elastic and springy. Put it into a clean bowl and cover with clingfilm, let is proof for 50 minutes.
Punch down the dough and place the raisins, currants and optional extras on top of it. Fold the dough and knead in the ingredients.
Knead through the lemon juice and egg through the spijs and shape it into a long thick snake. Now shape the dough into a elongated oval. Push down half of the dough so there is a thin halve and a thick halve. Place the spijs on the thin part of the oval and fold over the thick part so you create a loaf. Pinch the dough together so no spijs is showing. Cup the ends with your hands and push softly towards the middle to shape the loaf. Let this loaf proof for another 50 minutes under a moist tea towel.
Heat the oven to 200 c. Brush the loaf with a generous amount of melted butter before putting it into the oven. Put the loaf in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
Let the loaf cool on a baking rack before dusting it generously with icing sugar.