1. Stir yeast and 1 tsp of sugar into the warm milk in a medium-sized jug and leave for about 15 minutes until a frothy head forms. For proving the dough, turn your oven on at Bake 50˚C and arrange the shelves to accommodate your mixing bowl.
2. Thoroughly mix the flour, mace, cardamom, salt, sugar and fruit together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. When the yeast is frothy pour it into the flour ‘well’ with the softened butter and egg. Using one hand, mix the wet ingredients together, gradually incorporating the flour until the ingredients are mixed and the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean. If the dough is really sticky it may be necessary to add a little more flour but it should be soft.
4. Knead the dough on a work surface until it is springy and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding only just enough flour to stop the dough sticking.
5. After rubbing 1tsp oil around the inside, return the dough to the mixing bowl and stretch plastic film across the top of the bowl. Turn the oven off, (most ovens will retain enough heat to stay warm) and put the bowl in the oven until the dough has doubled in size. The time required will vary depending on the temperature of the dough but allow 1 – 2 hours.
6. Make the almond paste: Mix the beaten egg and almond essence. Combine the almonds and sugars in the bowl of a food processor and slowly add the egg mix until it forms a ball. Gently knead the paste on the workbench, adding a little icing sugar to prevent it sticking.
7. Roll the paste into a sausage about 20cm long and put to one side.
8. Knock-back* the dough and press out to an oblong 20 x25cm. Place the marzipan down the centre and fold the dough over. Place the stollen on a greased baking sheet and cover very loosely (leaving plenty of room for the dough to rise) with plastic wrap that has been rubbed with oil to prevent it sticking to the dough. Leave it in a warm place to double in size again**.
9. Preheat the oven to 180 – 190˚C and bake the stollen for 35 – 40 minutes until it is evenly browned and sounds hollow when gently tapped on the underside.
10. Glaze the bread immediately after it comes out of the oven by brushing with melted butter and dredging heavily with sifted icing sugar. Cool on a wire rack.
Tips & Tricks
*Knocking-back means kneading the dough quickly and lightly, just enough to break up any large air bubbles and even up the texture of the dough before shaping.
**Yeast works best at body temperature. If you can keep everything nice and warm, but not too hot, the dough will rise well. If using the oven for proving, it may be necessary to turn it on again at 50 ˚C for a few minutes before you put the dough in. Alternatively, if your oven has a Defrost function, this is perfect for proving bread.