I am not sure when my wife started making stollen bread for Christmas. Initially, she bought it at the grocery store and then she began to bake it at home. While this one includes a lot of butter, it doesn't taste as greasy as some of the commercial ones we have tried. It also has a very nice subtle flavor of lemon, almond and is not too sweet.
Instead of candied fruits, she only added raisins.
5 cups AP flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamon
2 cups blanched almonds toasted and pulverized
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 tbs dark rum
1 cup raisins
the zest of 2 lemons
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and pulverized almonds. Slice the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In another bowel mix the ricotta, egg, vanilla, almond extract, rum, currants, raisins, and lemon zest. Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until ingredients are combined.
Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead a few times to bring the dough together into a smooth ball. Divide the dough into two portion. Roll a portion out into an oval. Use the rolling pin to crease the dough just off center. Brush with melted butter. Fold smaller half over larger half. Repeat with other portion. (Instead of rolling into an oval which is the classic shape I make mine into squares. This makes it easier to slice into even pieces to heat in the microwave or toaster oven. I also sometimes make individual sized loaves to give as gifts.) Place on baking sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and tests for done.
This bread is very good and festive. It has a lovely almond flavor and is nicely moist. It really adds to the holiday festivities.