As an increasingly popular complement to festive plates of mince pies, you might view stollen as something of an indulgence. Possibly even a slightly wicked one. But the rich, fruity spiced bread has fans in surprisingly holy places. Originating in Germany, the oldest record of stollen being enjoyed as a Christmas treat dates back to Italy in 1545, where church dignitaries tucked in at the ecumenical Council of Trent.
We’ve not been making it quite that long here at Bettys, but as a nod to our continental roots it has been part of our Christmas tradition for more than 30 years. Although there are many regional variations on the stollen recipe, we like to think ours takes the best parts of each: plump sultanas and raisins soaked overnight in rum, a bread dough enriched with milk and egg, soft, sticky marzipan and our unique mix of stollen spices containing cinnamon and a little more besides.
After each stollen loaf has been left to rise, it’s baked, dipped into a rich blend of melted butter and rum, given a festive dusting of icing sugar then wrapped to keep it moist until Christmas. To keep all stolen aficionados satisfied, we like to stick to our own traditions: unlike some loaves where the marzipan only runs in one strip, ours is rolled out with the dough then folded up in a swirl, ensuring that every bite has the perfect balance of marzipan and bread.
If you haven’t tried our Stollen Bites, then be warned – they’re sure to become a part of your Christmas tradition. Made to the same recipe as the stollen loaves, the shape of the individual squares means that there are four times as many surfaces for that rum and melted butter to soak into. We don’t know what the pious folk of the Council of Trent would have made of that, but we suspect they’d be sneaking a few away in their robes for later.
Grab your own Stollen moment - order online from Bettys for delivery to your door