A little bit of a twist to the traditional German stollen, this wreath is perfect to make in advance and store ready for the big day. Or alternatively enjoy in the run up...only 10 days to go!
Christmas Stollen Wreath
(Recipe adapted from Dan Lepard's Stollen in Short and Sweet)
375g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping
75g caster sugar
3/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cardamom (I didn't have any so just used all-spice instead)
50g ground almonds
2 tsp fast action yeast
200g dried mixed fruit (I used raisins, cherries, cranberries and mixed peel)
125g unsalted butter
1 medium egg, plus 2 yolks
2 tbsp dark rum (I used Amaretto instead)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
oil for kneading
melted butter and icing sugar and dried cranberries to finish
In a large mixing bowl, combine 350g flour, sugar, salt, spices, almonds, yeast and dried fruit. In a small pan, whisk the milk and remaining 25g flour on a low heat and bring just to the boil. Spoon the paste into another bowl. Use the pan to gently melt the butter, cool a little and beat this into the milk with the egg, yolks, rum and zest. Stir into the flour to form a sticky dough.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes, lightly knead for a few minutes, then leave to rise for 2 hours back in the bowl. Knead once more and roll out on a floured work surface into a long rectangle shape. Roll the marzipan into an equally long sausage. Lay the marzipan onto one edge of the stollen and roll. Press down to seal and place into a well greased bundt tin with the seal side at the top (which will become the bottom when upturned after baking).
Cover the stollen in the tin with a clean tea towel and leave once more until it has risen by half. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake for 35 - 45 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack or plate to cool. When still warm, brush a generous amount of melted butter over to seal and dust with icing sugar once cool. To finish, drizzle with some icing and top with dried cranberries.
I've wrapped mine up in some wax paper and sealed in a large freezer bag to freeze ready for the big day. You could also make miniature stollen bites, just be sure to cook for less, 20 minutes should do.