When I was younger I didn't like the traditional Christmassy dried fruit extravaganza- Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding were all out for me as I was simply not a fan of raisins and currants. My dad on the other hand loves the cake but doesn't like marzipan and so every Christmas as soon as the Christmas cake made its appearance from the tin I would make a beeline for his plate ready to 'help out' with the layer of marzipan and icing as it was peeled away from the top of his cake!
These days things are different. I like the fruit too!
But... I don't want to ignore the marzipan either so in the spirit of trying new things I thought I would put together a couple of marzipan recipes to get you going.
Obviously this could be no ordinary marzipan, it had to be a refined sugar free healthy marzipan!
So, first up is today’s recipe...Stollen.
Stollen is a traditional German spiced loaf and strangely enough I have never actually eaten it before. I was keen to make my own healthy version this year with a generous layer of marzipan running through its centre. The fruit I used was also a bit of a twist on tradition allowing for my personal favourites- dried apricot, sultanas and cranberries, they also add a lovely colour to the loaf but feel free to vary these fruits as you wish.
The stollen takes a while to make- but most of this is rising time (approx. 3 hours rising time in total) so as long as you plan ahead you can get on with other things, the actual method itself is pretty simple and the ‘active’ time spent is probably only 20-30 minutes.
The recipes for both the stollen and the marzipan are below. The marzipan recipe makes more than is needed for the cake...so there will be left overs for the ‘Day 6’ little treats.... oh just wait until you see them, I'm excited just thinking about them!
- 75g each of three dried fruits- I used sultanas, cranberries and apricots (chop up the apricots)
- 75g ground almonds
- Zest of one lemon
- ½ tsp each of nutmeg and cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract (or an extra tsp vanilla)
- 375g mix of wholemeal and white flours as preferred (I used 175g wholemeal and 200g white spelt)
- 1 sachet dried yeast (7g)
- 50g rapadura
- 1 tbs ground flax and 2 tbs hot water (mixed together and set aside for 5 minutes to gel)
- 70g coconut oil
- 150ml warm soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 200g marzipan- see below for homemade version
- Icing sugar for final dusting- optional
Mix together the fruits, nuts, spices and extracts in a medium bowl. Once well mixed cover and set aside.
In another bowl (I used my Thermomix) mix together the flours, yeast, rapadura, flax mixture, coconut oil and soy milk. Mix to form dough and knead well (I used the TM dough setting for approx. 5 minutes) by hand for approx. 10 mins to ensure it binds together well. Place dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film, leave to rise in a warm place for approx.. 90 minutes until it is roughly double in size.
Once risen, knead the fruit mix into the dough making sure it is well mixed through. If the dough becomes very sticky add a little more flour (I added another 25g). Cover and leave to rise for another 30minutes.
Whilst you are waiting for the dough to rise make the marzipan following the recipe below. Shape 2/3 of the marzipan into a log roughly 25cm long. Set aside the rest of the marzipan for ‘Day 6’ treats (or just roll into balls for nibbles).
Once the dough risen for the second time, knead briefly and roll out in a rectangle approx. 15mm thick. Place the marzipan log towards one edge running lengthways along the dough making sure it is slightly shorter than the length of the dough. Roll up the dough around the marzipan tucking into the ends as you go.
Place the stolen roll on a parchment lined baking sheet with the seam side down. Cover and leave to rise for approx. 1 more hour (we are nearly there I promise!!)
Preheat oven to 180C and bake stolen for approx. 40 minutes. If the surface strats to brown to early, loosely cover with tinfoil, test with a skewer when to check when done. Dust with icing sugar to serve if preferred.
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g white coloured ‘healthy flour’ e.g spelt or other GF flour (I used a combination of buckwheat and tapioca flour)
- 100g coconut butter
- 50g agave (tiny pinch stevia)
- 1 tsp almond extract (more if needed to taste)
Blitz all ingredients in food processor until a sticky powdery ‘dough’. Press the dough into a small shallow tin to then slice into cubes, press into shaped silicone moulds or roll into balls etc. Leave to chill in fridge.
If you are making Stollen use approx. 2/3 of the mixture to form a log for the centre of the stolen loaf.
Note: you will probably find the dough feels oily as you mould it, this is just the oils from the coconut in the warmth of your hands. When cool the marzipan will not be oily.