Stollen's richness is similar to that of brioche, but dried fruit makes it sweeter and gives it a more interesting texture. Serve this rich holiday treat in thin slices as breakfast bread or with afternoon tea. Like fruitcake, stollen improves with age and can be made up to three weeks in advance.
Chock-full of dried fruit, almonds, and spices, the German stollen is a dense bread that is traditionally oblong, symbolizing a swaddled infant. The history of stollen dates to 15th-century Dresden, where the first German Christmas market was held (a festival still honors it each year). The bread has evolved since then, gradually becoming richer and sweeter. In this version, a recipe from Martha's mother, Martha Kostyra, pieces of the dough are braided, letting drizzles of the icing pool in the baked loaf 's twists and turns.
This popular Southern layer cake is Martha's favorite. When she was growing up, Martha would celebrate her birthday with her mother's version. In it, moist white cake layers are filled with a fluffy frosting studded with chopped nuts, figs, and raisins.
Long an Easter favorite in the Kostyra family, this sweet, creamy dessert is made with farmer cheese instead of cream cheese. Mild and slightly tangy, farmer cheese is a soft cheese from which most of the liquid has been slowly pressed; it retains much of its moisture because of the slowness of the pressing process.
Giving fruitcake a winter-white coat transforms a humble classic into an upscale dessert.
In it is a flavorful array of golden jewels -- dried pineapple, pear, and apple; crystallized
ginger; golden raisins; and lemon zest. The cake is covered with rolled white fondant and
flurry of hand-cut snowflakes.