Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
The tradition of baking stollen during the Christmas holiday has been around for a long time. Christmas Stollen in Dresden was already baked in the 15th century.
Grandma Gaertner made stollen every Christmastime. Enough for the each of the extended families. Grandma was an artiste when it came to baking. Mom was an excellent baker. I know of no mortal that can replicate mom's pie crust. Jill happens to be a baker of some repute. Strudels, cookies, you name it. Her pumpkin pie is absolutely to die-for. If only mom was here to perpetuate the crust recipe. Sigh.
As for me I am challenged in the baking department. I will readily admit I'm more of a cook. Soups, braise, BBQ, smoked meats and wild game are my forté. Nevertheless, I made stollen years ago and it turned out reasonably well.
I spent most of Sunday listening to the Packers clobber the New York Giants and making a vast kettle of homemade chicken soup. And stollen.
Hey! Christmas is over. You're too late for stollen aren't you?
I don't think so. You can eat stollen anytime. With guests visiting I figured there's nothing better than a nice homemade stollen on hand for breakfast or dessert. Heck - you can even make a stollen for your sweetie for Valentines Day.
Take my advice though - don't let the game distract you.
Gas Pains' Giant Dresdner Stollen
2 packages of active dry yeast
1/4 cup of warm water
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 t salt
3/4 cup butter (melted)
6 cups (give or take) flour
3 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced citron
1/2 cup candied cherries (sliced in half)
2 cups powdered sugar
1t vanilla extract
A wee bit of milk
Scald the milk and stir-in the sugar, salt and melted butter. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Mix the dried yeast with the warm water. Let it rest a bit.
Mix all of the foregoing with two cups of flour, the dried fruit, eggs, nutmeg and 1 cup of the chopped almonds.
Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead.
Put it in a greased bowl, cover with wax paper and a damp towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and let it rest a bit.
Divide the dough in halves and shape each piece into an oval. Fold lengthwise and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick oil. Allow to rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
While stollen are baking prepare the frosting. Combine the powdered sugar and the vanilla - gradually add small amounts of milk until a spreading consistency is attained.
Remove the stollen from the oven and frost immediately. Top with the remaining half-cup of chopped almonds and more of the candied cherries.
Don't do like me and forget two important steps.
I forgot the salt and forgot to fold lengthwise. Unlike the soup, which was a taste-as-you-go operation, baking requires attention to detail. Simple chemistry and physics. Without the salt my stollen turned out tasting like any other low (or no) sodium item. Ever so slightly bland. Without the last fold they were large, mutant things.
Other than that - they were OK. Perfectly edible.
The soup was excellent.