You might say this bread has STOLLEN my heart? But only if you trade in really cruddy puns, and I totally get that you are probably above that. Honestly, this Cranberry and Pistachio Stollen genuinely has won me over. It’s the forgotten Christmas bread, as far as my little world is concerned…if you’re German you probably think I’m high because you eat it every year.
But up until about a year or two ago, I had never heard of a Stollen. And I really can’t remember what turned me on to them either…it just seems like one day there I was, happily whistling away in my kitchen baking a sugar-dusted, butter soaked Christmas bread, and feeling like I’d been doing it all my life.
Now I don’t think I could have Christmas without one. And my Cranberry and Pistachio Stollen is my ultimate version. The recipe is so delicious, and so important to my Holiday season, it’s actually in my book! So if you have a copy, go straight to the kitchen and get baking! And if you don’t well then go buy one (it’s 30% OFF!), and while you’re waiting for it to arrive, you can use the recipe in this post.
The gist of the bread is thus: a spiced, fruit and nut studded loaf, which gets slathered with butter while still warm – all over the crust – and then dusted with a thick, snowy layer of icing sugar. Once the loaf cools, soaking in that buttery-sweet layer, it then gets dusted with another layer of sugar-snow, and you’re ready to eat! The version in my book features dried cherries, a little booze, a hidden round of Marzipan which runs right through the bread, turning it into a decadent snack, and a really cool gift (imho).
This version is a little leaner, but still completely delicious. It’s the perfect holiday-time meal filler. Toasted at breakfast, with a little shmear of butter, it makes any morning feel festive. Turning it into French Toast or Bread Pudding is going full twinkle-lights and tinsel, and I love it. And even a plain slice, mid-afternoon with a hot coffee (or an iced coffee, if you’re here in boiling hot/humid Queensland) is just exactly what I want. I hope you try this one! It’s a real favourite.
- 25g butter
- ½ cup (125ml) milk
- 2 ½ cups (375g) flour
- 2 tsp yeast
- ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ¾ cup (150g) raw, unsalted pistachios
- ¾ cup (110g) dried cranberries
- To decorate:
- 25g butter, melted
- icing sugar
- Melt the butter in a small pan, turn off the heat and add the milk. Place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, egg, spices and vanilla into the bowl a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the cool butter and milk and work the mixture on a low speed, until everything comes together. Knead for about 7-–8 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic and set aside to rise until doubled in size, 1-–2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper. When the dough has risen, add in the cranberries along with the pistachios. Work the cranberries and pistachios into the dough using a dough scraper, or your hands. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (don’t worry if you lose a few add-ins) and pat into a 25cm (10inch) oval. Fold one third of the dough into the centre, and then fold the other side over the top. Cover loosely with plastic and leave to rise again for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), and then bake for 20-–30 minutes or until golden brown, and hollow when tapped. Brush the still warm loaf with melted butter, dust it liberally with icing sugar (and I mean liberally) and then leave it to cool completely, before dusting generously again, and slicing.