If you're looking for a unique, food-related gift, go candy yourself some citrus. Look at how sparkly it is! Package it up all cute, maybe in little mason jars, and impress your friends. You can even dip the pieces in dark chocolate first, if you're feeling extra nice.
And then you know what you should do with the leftover candied citrus? Make stollen (basically, traditional German fruit cake.)
Most people hate fruit cake. That is (probably) a scientific fact. It makes sense, right? I mean, I don't know a whole lot of people who would voluntarily opt for a sickly-sweet, dried fruit laden cake when there are exactly 293874293 other options out there.
But this fruit cake. This one has rye flour. And boozy fruit. And candied citrus. And almonds. And then the outside is rubbed with GINGER SUGAR. Come on. You can't not like this.
Fair warning, from start to finish, the process takes two days. The first day is pretty involved with the making of the starter, soaking the dried fruit in rum(!!), and then mixing, rising, and baking the dough. The rest of those two days? You just let it sit. It needs to "age" before it is ripe for eating. I promise you it's worth trying. For reals. Let's bring fruit cake back, y'all.
adapted from David Lebovitz
2/3 cup (110 g) golden raisins (sultanas)
1/3 cup (80 g) dried cranberries or cherries (i used a little of each)
3 TB dark rum (or orange juice)
1/2 cup (160 g) slivered or sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/8 cup (60 ml) water
1 1/4 tsp (10 g) yeast
1/4 cup (125 ml) milk (whole or low-fat), at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (40 g) rye flour (or use similar amount all-purpose flour. But you should really use the rye.)
1/4 cup (50 g) plus 2 TB sugar
3/4 tsp ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2 cup, plus 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 TB honey
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/3 cup diced candied citrus peel
1/3 cup powdered sugar, or more, if necessary
1. Mix raisins and the cranberries or cherries with the dark rum or orange juice, then cover. In another bowl, mix the almonds with the water, and cover. Let both sit at least an hour, or overnight.
2. Pour the milk in a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir briefly, then stir in 1/2 cup of the flour until smooth to make a starter. Cover, and let rest one hour.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, or by hand, stir together the remaining flour, the rye flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of the dried ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, citrus zest, and vanilla. Pour in the 1/2 cup of the melted butter, honey, and the egg yolk, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is moistened uniformly.
4. While mixing, add the yeasted starter, one-third at a time, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Once added, continue to beat for about four minutes until almost smooth: it should resemble cookie dough. Add the dried fruits (and any liquid), candied ginger, citrus peel, and almonds, and beat until they’re well-distributed
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead a few times, then place back in the mixer bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for one hour.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead the dough again, then return it to the bowl. Let rest for another hour.
7. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each one into a oval, and place them evenly-spaced apart on an insulated baking sheet. You can stack two rimmed baking sheets on top of each other, if you don't have an insulated sheet.
8. Cover the loaves with a clean tea towel and let rest in a warm place for one hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the tea towel and bake the loaves for 45-50 minutes, or until they’re deep golden brown. (Note: Recipe advises that when they’re done, the internal temperature should read 190F, 88C if using an instant-read thermometer.)
10. While they loaves are baking, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger. When the breads come out of the oven, generously brush the remaining 1/3 cup melted butter over the hot loaves, letting the butter saturate the breads, repeating until all the butter is absorbed.
11. Rub the gingered sugar mixture over the top and side of each loaf then let rest on the baking sheet until room temperature.
12. Sift the powdered sugar over, under, and around the breads, rubbing it in with your hands. Then, wrap the loaves with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag and let sit for two days. After two days, the loaves are ready to eat, or can be wrapped as gifts. You may wish to sift additional powdered sugar over the top in case they need another dusting.
Storage: Stollen can be stored for at least a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. Or frozen for at least one month.
recipe adapted from Shutterbean
3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
3 cups water
- Using a paring knife, make 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each citrus fruit, cutting through peel but not into fruit. Using your fingers, gently remove peel. Reserve remainder of fruit for another use. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Trim excess pith from each strip, and discard.
- Place strips in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice.
- Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Add strips to boiling syrup; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, without stirring, until strips are translucent, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let strips cool in syrup.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a wire rack placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Wipe off excess syrup with paper towels, then roll strips in sugar. Arrange in a single layer on a wire rack, and let dry for at least 24 hours. Sugar peels can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
- To dip in chocolate: melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium low heat. Dip individual citrus pieces in chocolate. Let cool/harden on a parchment lined cookie sheet.