Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stollen with Dried Cherries and Pineapple

Wow! This was nothing like I imagined. I thought Trader Joe's Stollen was delicious, but this is even better. It remind me of a really moist giant cinnamon roll. Even though it's traditionally a Christmas bread I think it would be a great breakfast anytime.

In a bowl:
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
Cover with boiling water and set aside to cool. I let it sit the full hour while the sponge was raising.

Sponge: 1 cup warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour.

Combine the milk and sugar, sprinkle with yeast and stir to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes then add the flour. Beat until smooth, cover with plastic and let raise 1 hour at room temp. until bubbly.

Dough: Drain the dried fruit and add to the sponge along with 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons cognac (I substituted with 2 tablespoons pureed peaches), grated zest of one lemon (or a couple teaspoons of juice), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup of the flour. Beat until combined then add3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) of butter a few pieces at a time while adding the remaining 2 1/2-3 cups of flour 1/2 a cup at a time until you have a soft dough that clears the side of the bowl.

Knead for 2-3 minutes dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking until dough is smooth and springy (I made this when the weather was really stormy and ended up adding an extra two cups of flour!). Then let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into two pieces. Roll int o a 12 by 8 inch oval about 1/2 an inch thick. Cover with two tablespoons unsalted melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/2 a teaspoon cinnamon. Make a crease down the center of the oval , and without stretching it fold one of the long sides over the center crease to within 3/4 an inch of the opposite side. Press the top edge lightly to seal. Repeat with the second loaf.

Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about an hour. 20 minutes before baking turn the oven to 375 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned. If the tops are browning to fast cover loosely with aluminum foil.

You can dust with powdered sugar if you want to.