Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stollen...It's Not Just for Christmas Anymore!



Mmmm...stollen, that wonderful German fruit bread cake thing.  I don't know if it's a bread or a cake or what, and I don't care.  I just like it...a lot!

When I was a kid, there was an elderly couple living next to us who ran a restaurant before they retired.  "Ma" Strehlow baked everything fresh every day for her husband Bill.   Daily, she made homemade donuts, homemade bread, and at Christmas time, stollen.

My mom was a terrific cook, but she always was frustrated with the results of her Stollen, even though Mrs. Strehlow had bestowed upon her 'the recipe' before they moved into assisted living in the late 1970's.

After my mom passed away, I decided to have a whack at making Stollen myself...someone had to do it, right?   I looked at 'the recipe' and compared it to many others in cookbooks and online and figured out what Mrs. Strehlow probably intentionally left out (she had a habit of doing that before handing out a recipe).

And it's NOT just for Christmas!  This past year I got frustrated with the crummy "king cake" recipes I had tried for Mardi Gras, so I just made stollen, formed into a ring and decorated as a king cake instead!   It's too good to have just once a year.  And it's not that hard.

You will need:

Stand Mixer (like a KitchenAid or similar)

For the Fruit:
1 C mixed candied fruit
1 C raisins
3 T Brandy

For the Sponge:
1 t or 1 package active dry yeast
1/4 C warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2/3 C milk
1 t honey
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Dough:
1/3 C honey
1 large egg, beaten
1 stick butter, softened
1 T grated lemon zest
1 t salt
1/2 t ground mace
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 C chopped almonds, toasted
3 to 4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
Oil, for coating bowl

For the Filling:
2 T butter, melted
2 t ground cinnamon
3 T granulated sugar

For the Frosting:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Milk, to thickness
Green and/or Red Candied Cherries

Start by combining the mixed fruit, raisins, and Brandy. Set aside. Stir the mixture every so often to coat the fruit with the Brandy.

In the stand mixer bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water to soften. Heat the milk to 110 degrees F and add it to the yeast along with the honey and 1 cup flour. Cover the sponge with plastic wrap and let rise until light and full of bubbles, about 30 minutes.

Now add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, mace, nutmeg, 1/2 C almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge. Using the paddle, beat the mixture on medium low speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Change to the dough hook. Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to clean the bowl. Knead 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low.

First rise: Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape and Fill: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Roll the dough into a 9 by 13-inch oval.  Brush the melted butter over the top of the oval. Combine the cinnamon and granulated sugar and sprinkle over one lengthwise half of the oval(s). Fold the dough in half lengthwise and carefully lift the bread onto a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet. Press lightly on the folded side to help the loaf keep its shape during rising and baking.

Second rise: Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven: About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake and cool: Bake for 25 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 degrees F. Immediately remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

When cool, mix up some frosting and frost.  Sprinkle remaining toasted almonds over the frosting and run a line of candied cherries down the middle.   Mmmmm!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I'm Back!

Dad's Pepper Relish



Once I got over my initial shock regarding my Diabetes diagnosis and learned to live with it better, I found that - with a certain amount of due diligence - I didn't have to give up *everything*.

Such it is with Dad's Pepper Relish.   We've been eating this for many years, and it may be that my mom originally came up with it, I'm not sure nor is Dad, but he usually ended up doing the making of it regardless of who's idea it was.

This condiment is incredible on burgers, brats, hot dogs, hot beef, any kind of sandwich.  I also like it in egg salad, mixed with rice, topping a bagel with cream cheese or added to anything that you want to add a little kick to.  It can be eaten right away, but as with many things, is best after a day or more.   It keeps in the refrigerator for a long time if kept in mason jars, and takes just minutes to make.

Ingredients:

Pickled Jalapeno Slices
Celery (or Cucumber)
Onion
Green Olives with Pimentos
Olive Oil

For whatever amount you wish to make, finely dice the pickled jalapeno slices.  Whatever amount you dice up, take about half that amount in each of the rest of the ingredients and dice those up.  Mix all together in a bowl.  Add olive oil...about a Tablespoon for each pint you make.   Stir well and put in a mason jar or jars, refrigerate.  If using cucumber, peel, slice in half and remove soft center seedy part and discard, then dice the rest of the cuke up.    Dad always makes it with celery...I was out of celery one day and tried the cuke, and I like it either way.

Jalapenos too hot?   Try pepperoncinis, banana rings, whatever you like!