What? Recipes? From the Yarn Shop?

You might be surprised at the number of people who come to my yarn shop looking for a pattern, and then can’t think of the word pattern, in the moment. What do they call it? They call it a recipe. And of course, that is exactly what it is. Well that got me thinking. What with Christmas coming up, I thought I’d break from blog tradition and share some of my Family Christmas Recipes.

Many of you will know that I am a celiac but in addition to not being able to eat gluten, I am also allergic to the nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant). Before you ask, I rarely eat out because it is simply too risky and too stressful… and quite frankly in the time it takes to explain everything and figure out what is safe for me to eat I could cook something at home.

I took my traditional German family holiday baking recipes from my Grandmother and reworked them so that they can be gluten/nightshade free. If you are unfamiliar with gluten-free baking, potato flour is frequently used in the flour mixes as it gives a nicer quality of crumb in baked goods. Most commercially made gluten free baked goods contain potato.

Growing up in a German immigrant family, Christmas baking was a big deal. Stollen  is a traditional German Christmas cake. It is nothing like the heavy fruitcake that we typically see at this time of year. It contains raisins, currents, nuts and some candied fruit (Zitronat) as well as almond paste. This was always the first thing to be baked. Mom would soak the nuts, raisins, currants and candied fruit in rum for the better part of a week, stirring them daily to make sure the flavour permeated all of it.

Today, I want to share my recipe for Gluten Free Stollen.

To begin with, you have to make up the flour mix. Weigh out 925g of brown rice flour and 400g of Tapioca starch. Combine these well. I have a good sized Tupperware container that I keep this mix in. I usually weigh it into the container (remember to reset the tare on your kitchen scale when you begin adding each ingredient) close the lid and shake it well before mixing it well with a whisk. This is the flour mix used in all the recipes I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple blogs.

Judy’s Gluten Free Christmas Stollen

125g Dried Currants (they look like tiny raisins; do NOT substitute!)

125g Black Raisins

125g Yellow Raisins

150g chopped Almonds

150g chopped Hazelnuts

100g Zitronat*

1/4 tsp Almond extract

1/2 cup Dark Rum (or more if you like)

1/2 tsp Pure Lemon Extract

1/8 tsp Cardamom

1/8 tsp Mace (Nutmeg blossoms)

500g Gluten Free Flour mix (above)

1 – 1/2 tsp Xantham Gum

1 Tbsp gluten free baking powder

200g sugar

1 Tbsp Vanilla Sugar (you can use 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract instead)

pinch of salt

2 eggs

       250g Quark**

175g Butter (at room temperature)

250g Almond Paste (at room temperature)

       Butter and Icing Sugar to decorate

Instructions

  1. Combine the currants, raisins, nuts, almond and lemon extracts, rum, spices and Zitronat in a large metal or glass bowl (not plastic). Stir them well. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Stir this mixture at least three times a day for a minimum of 2 days. 4 days is ideal, you can go as long as 5 days provided the bowl is covered tightly the entire time and refrigerated.
  2. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the butter and Almond paste.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, xantham gum and baking powder and whisk together thoroughly.
  6. In a separate bowl, weigh out sugar and add vanilla sugar (or vanilla) and salt
  7. Pour the flour mixture onto your clean kitchen counter. Make a well in the centre of it. Place the sugar, quark and eggs in the well and using a fork, mix them just enough so the eggs won’t run all over the place. It’s okay that it is only mixed with a portion of the flour at this time.
  8. Add the butter/almond paste mixture to the great messy pile on the counter. (Don’t mix it in yet.)
  9. Add the nuts and fruits mixture to make the pile even bigger and messier.
  10. Mix this big pile of delicious-smelling stuff until you have a beautiful smooth dough. It should mix quite quickly. It may be a wee bit sticky. This isn’t like bread dough, you don’t have to knead it extensively. Just get it mixed to a nice smooth texture.
  11. Form the dough into two equal loaves and position them to fit on the large baking sheet. I find that I have to place them diagonally-ish to make them both fit happily.
  12. Bake for around 40 minutes.
  13. Once it comes out of the oven and while it’s still hot, brush the top with butter (not margarine!) and sprinkle profusely with icing sugar. The butter will absorb a bunch of icing sugar. Don’t skimp on the icing sugar, it should look like a good layer of snow on a rolling hill.
  14. Allow it to cool before cutting.
  15. If it doesn’t immediately get devoured by everyone who has been staring in the oven window, salivating while it was baking, store it in a sealed container.

*Zitronat in this recipe is candied fruit made from citrus. Look for the container in which the fruit is all and only shades of yellow. It is important to use the right one. Don’t use the mixed candied fruit, it will ruin your Stollen!

**Quark is a soft cheese, ask for it in the deli. If you can’t get it, you can approximate it by squeezing cottage cheese through a metal sieve and mixing it with a little bit of yogurt to give it a smooth and creamy texture.

Happy Baking… and then happy eating the baked goods while knitting!

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