Christmas is just around the corner. Some have already planned and accomplished their Christmas shopping lists and others are waiting until the last minute to get the ball rolling. Whatever tradition you have been accustomed with, there’s always one simple thing that brings all our beliefs together and that is the spirit of giving.
Today, we are going to share with you something that you can also share and give to friends and families. Something that has been in the traditions of Germans from generation to generation – the Dresdner Christstollen. Or what we can also call a German Christmas fruitcake. We know we have been late in sharing this since it’s usually prepared for weeks and weeks before consumption. But it’s better late than never.
Before the recipe, let us take you back to the history of the Classic Dresdner Christstollen. Where it came from, how it got its name, how and why it became part of Christmas tradition in Germany and why do you have to wait for weeks before you can enjoy a slice of this mouthwatering stollen.
As it’s obviously stated, the Classic Dresdner Christstollen originated in Dresden, Germany and can be traced back to the 15th century. It was first mentioned on an invoice to the court at Dresden where it was made and tasted differently than the one we enjoy these days. At that era, stollen was eaten during the fasting time and thus it was made only of flour, yeast and water as the church would not allow the use of grandiose ingredients such as butter or milk as a sign of abstinence from festive pleasures. However, fast forward to 1491, the Pope has revoked the butter ban fulfilling the request of Prince Ernst, Elector of Saxony, and his brother Albrecht. From then on until now, the taste and texture may have improved but the form and shape of a stollen has not changed for the very same reason that it symbolizes the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Now a recipe being handed down from generation to generation is what makes the stollen the great and classic German Christmas pastry we have today. Below is the classic recipe of Dresdner Christstollen, or also known as German Christmas fruitcake.
- 1 kg wheat flour
- 80 g yeast
- 250 ml milk
- 700 g butter
- 150 g sugar
- 15 g salt
- 10 g spice mix (1 g cardamom, 1 g cinnamon, 2 g nutmeg, 6 g vanilla)
- 125 g icing / powdered sugar (for dusting)
- 600 g raisin
- 50 g candied lemon peel
- 50 g candied orange peel
- 100 g chopped almonds (sweet)
- 10 g chopped almonds (bitter)
- 80 g rum
- 220 g vanilla sugar
- 10 g lemon zest
Combine raisins, candied peels (lemon and orange), almonds, vanilla sugar, rum and lemon zest. Let mixture soak overnight.
Tip: Substitute rum with unsweetened orange juice to make the stollen kid-friendly and enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Heat up the milk for approximately 26°C, dissolve the yeast in it and mix together with half of the flour into a dough. Once the yeast pieces are dissolved, add in the butter, sugar, spices and the remaining flour to form a smooth dough.
Let the dough rise for 60 minutes or until it doubled the size, knead the dough and add in the rum-soaked dry fruits from the day before. When all ingredients are equally distributed, roll into an oval shape and place on a greased baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 200°C and bake at 180°C for about 50 to 60 minutes. After baking, brush butter generously all over the warm loaf and sprinkle vanilla sugar on top. Let it cool and dust over the loaf with sieved powdered sugar.
Storing: Wrap the cooled loaf, after dusting powdered sugar, into a foil or a plastic wrap and keep inside a biscuit tin.
A stollen is usually prepared and made in advance, for example, at least 2 weeks before serving it. Why, you ask. It’s because through time the juice from the fruits will be evenly absorbed throughout the whole loaf, which makes huge difference in the taste and texture of the stollen. But it is also great when eaten fresh after it has cooled down. Whatever your preference is, making the stollen specifically with your loved ones is what makes this classic pastry a part of German families’ tradition and heritage.
Tip: You may wish to prepare the stollen in advance before consumption. Store the stollen for at least 2 weeks or more before serving to achieve just the right taste and texture for this classic German Christmas fruitcake.
It’s not that hard to bake, it just takes some patience because you have to wait a few weeks for you to actually enjoy the goodness of a stollen, but we guarantee you that it is worth the wait.
Is there other classic and traditional German recipe you would like to explore? Let us know by commenting below this post or on our Facebook. We would be glad to share them with you!