Christmas Morning Stollen
- 3/4 cup dried currants
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 3/4 cup dark rum
- 1 1/4 cups chopped almonds
- 1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon mace
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/3 cup diced <u>Candied Lemon Peel</u>
- <u>Vanilla Sugar</u>, (optional)
- Whipped cream cheese (optional), for serving
- In a small bowl, combine currants, raisins, and rum. Let soak for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Drain fruit, reserving liquid. Fruit and reserved liquid may be stored separately in the refrigerator in airtight containers.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Spread almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
- In the jar of a blender, combine ricotta, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid; blend until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, mace, and salt. Add chilled butter; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine fruit, almonds, and lemon peel; stir in ricotta mixture until combined. Add flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth. Divide dough in half; cover half the dough with a clean kitchen towel.
- Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a 9-by-8-inch oval. Place rolling pin just off center lengthwise, and press gently to form a slight indentation. Brush top surface of dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Carefully fold dough lengthwise along indentation, leaving 1 inch of the bottom edge exposed. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; repeat with remaining dough. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center of each comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; let cool completely.
- Wrap cooled breads in parchment paper-lined heavy aluminum foil. Let stand at room temperature for 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To serve, bake wrapped breads until heated through, about 15 minutes. Brush each loaf with 2 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle generously with vanilla sugar, if using. Serve with whipped cream cheese, if desired.
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