Monthly Archives: November 2011

Dresdener Christmas Stollen

Yesterday I started my Christmas baking with the traditional German Christmas stollen. This is a fruit cake made with a yeast dough and quite some butter. It gets better the longer it can rest. Usually I bake it middle of November, wrap it in aluminum foil after it has cooled off, and start serving it 4-6 weeks later. The recipe is from a cherished little book with baking recipes for the Holiday season (2) that I received as a present more than twenty years ago from my dear friend Edda.

Ingredients (for 2 stollen)

  • 200g sultana raisins
  • 100g currants
  • 4 tbsp rum
  • 1 kg flour
  • 5 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 drops of almond extract
  • grated peel of one lemon
  • approx. 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 75g candied lemon peel
  • 75 g candied orange peel
  • 150g chopped almonds

For coating:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • icing sugar

Clean raisins and currants with a tea towel and soak in rum over night.

Pour the flour in a big bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the yeast and 1 tsp. of sugar, mix with 125ml lukewarm milk and let sit at least 15 minutes so the yeast can proof. Bubbles rising up indicates that your dough is ready for the next step.
Add sugar, salt, lemon rind, almond extract, ground almonds and melted butter. While mixing with your hand gradually add milk, just enough to make a smooth dough. Knead and beat the dough until it has a silky consistency and makes bubbles. Carefully add the raisins, currants, the candied peel and the chopped almonds. Cover and let sit for 2-3 hours at a warm place. Form two loaves of Stollen and put side by side on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. I put folded aluminum foil between both loaves to keep them separated. Let the loaves rise for another 1-2 hours.

Bake at 180˚C -200˚C  for 50-70 Min. until brown but not dark. Towards the end monitor closely. When finished baking coat with melted butter and dust with a thick layer of icing sugar.


Stollen easily gets too dark in the oven especially at the bottom. That’s why I bake it in the middle of the oven at 180°C only. But do not worry if it has become too dark, just cut this dark crust off before serving. If it gets dark from the top cover it with aluminum foil.

Before serving I always add a fresh layer of icing sugar for dusting to make it attractively looking.

(2) Ulrike Hornberg, “Backen fuer die Weihnachtszeit, mit 250 Rezepten, Farbfotos und Zeichnungen.”, Knaur Verlag, 1977.


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Filed under baking, Christmas

Chocolate-Orange Ricotta Crème

This is one of our favourite family desserts. It is ready in no time. So even if your meal is ready and you realize that dessert is missing, you can still do the trick.


  • 500g ricotta
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • chocolate syrup
  • grated orange peel
  • 3 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, shaved
  • sugar if desired.


Mix all ingredients together and scoop into bowls. Decorate with shaved chocolate and orange slices.


The ricotta can be replaced by cream cheese or quark. Just make it smooth by adding some milk,cream or yogurt.

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Sauce Bolognese

The origin of this recipe for a basic meat sauce for pasta and lasagna is from a German cook book with Italian recipes (1) that I own. I changed it a bit, replacing the amount of milk that it asks for by broth. It takes a bit of time to prepare. That’s why I usually prepare it ahead and double or triple the recipe to freeze some portions.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 50g pancetta
  • 300g ground beef
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300g tomatoes from the can
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine.
Prepare the vegetables. Mince pancetta, carrot, celery, onion and garlic (I just use my food processor to do this) and mix with the ground meat. Melt the butter and brown the meat mixture. Add red wine and and bring to boil. Boil until reduced by half, then add broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for about 2 hours.
(1) Marieluise Christl-Licosa, “Echt italienisch kochen. Reizvolle Original-Rezepte und Küchentips”, GU Verlag, 1989.

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Sauce Alfredo

This is one of the many variations of the Béchamel Sauce, this time with chicken or ham and peas. If you omit the meat and the peas it makes a great white cheese sauce.


  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or cooked ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup peas, precooked
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • To taste: Salt, pepper, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice.


In a sauce pan cook the onion in the butter until it is softened. Stir in the flour and cook. Add the milk while whisking until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add salt and pepper, and simmer the sauce for 5-10min. Stir in cheese and add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice to taste. Pour in the chicken or ham cubes and the peas for reheating.

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Filed under easy, inexpensive, pasta sauce