German Stollen have been around for nearly 700 years and are prized throughout the world as one of the most famous and beloved of all Christmas pastries. Your search for the best recipe has ended: Flaky, moist, aromatic and divinely flavorful, these homemade German Christmas Stollen are INCREDIBLE!
Place the raisins, candied citrus peel and almonds in a medium bowl and pour the rum over it. Stir to combine. Set aside and let the fruit mixture soak in the rum while the dough rises.
Stir the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the lukewarm milk and let sit in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until very frothy.
Place the flour, remaining sugar, egg, egg yolks, butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, cardamom, mace and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast/milk mixture. Use a spoon to stir the mixture until it comes together. Knead the dough on the bread setting for 7-8 minutes. Remove the dough ball, lightly spray the bowl with a little oil, return the dough ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place or lightly warmed oven (just barely warm), to rise until nearly doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and add the soaked fruit/nut mixture to the dough (it should have absorbed all the rum by now but if there is excess liquid, pour it out before adding the mixture to the dough). Using the dough hook, knead the fruit/nut mixture into the dough until combined. If the dough is too wet to handle, add a little bit of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it in two equal halves. Press or roll each piece into an oval to about 1 inch thickness. Roll each piece of marzipan into a log the length of the oval. Press the marzipan gently into the middle of the dough. Fold the left side of the dough over to cover the marzipan, then fold right side over on top of the left side so that the edge of it sits just left of the middle of the stollen (see pics). In other words, don't fold the right side all the way over to the left edge of the stollen. Pinch and tuck the top and bottom ends of the stollen to cover the marzipan. Use the bottom edge of your hand to press down along the length of the stollen towards the right of the center to create a divot and characteristic hump (see pics). Place the stollen on a lined baking sheet. Cover the stollen loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place or lightly warmed oven for 40-60 minutes until puffy. At that point you can pick off any raisins that are sticking out of the dough (they will burn during baking).
Towards the end of the last rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the stollen for 30-40 minutes or until golden. You can use aninstant read thermometer to aim for an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. Let the Stollen sit for 5 minutes, then use a toothpick to poke holes all over the stollen (this will allow the butter to seep in), then generously brush the stollen with the melted butter while the stollen are still warm. Immediately sprinkle with a generous amount of powdered sugar, rubbing it into the creases and down the sides. Let the stollen cool completely. You may want to give it another dusting of powdered sugar once cooled.
The stollen can be sliced and eaten now or wrapped tightly (wrap in plastic wrap then foil) and left to "ripen" in a cool place for 2 weeks. The liquid from the dried fruits will further penetrate the dough for more flavor and moisture. Stollen can also be frozen for longer storage.
Makes 2 large or 3 medium Stollen.For eating, I like to warm the slices up for a few seconds in the microwave, it makes the crumb nice and soft.