Yesterday we told you about The Plum Tree, Ellen Marie Wiseman's poignant debut novel about love and survival in Germany during World War II. (I love all the family photos Wiseman shared with us, so check out the post if you haven't already!)

Now I'm back for more on this book, because the author offered to share her family's traditional German Stollen recipe—and naturally I jumped at the opportunity! Keep reading for more information about this bread, along with a recipe.

Note: I'm told that In The Plum Tree there is no Stollen, as the ingredients would have been to hard to come by during the war.

Christmas Stollen—Sweet Bread

Stollen is a traditional German cake or yeast bread usually eaten during the Christmas season, when it’s called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. It can be filled with dried fruits, nuts, candied citrus, raisins, currants, cherries, rum, or a ribbon of marzipan. My recipe, handed down from my Oma, is for a rich yeast bread filled with candied fruit. Unlike most Stollen, which is folded over before baking, my mother and I form ours into thick braids, just like Oma used to.
—Ellen Marie Wiseman

  • 7 cups flour

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup shortening

  • 1 ½ cup scalded milk

  • 2 pkgs. dry yeast dissolved in ½ cup warm water

  • Dried fruit

  • Sliced almonds

  • Dried maraschino cherries

  • Hagel Zucker (hail sugar) or confectionary sugar

Mix together flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add eggs and mix. Dissolve shortening in milk, cool to lukewarm, and add to flour. Dissolve yeast in water and add flour mixture. Knead until well mixed. Cover and let rise in warm place, 1-1 ½ hours.

Work in dried fruit and let rise again, about ½ hour. Separate dough into six pieces, shape into long, skinny loaves, then braid three together to make two Stollen.

Brush with egg yolk and decorate with almonds and cherries. Sprinkle with Hagel Zucker. Bake at 375 until brown, about 25-30 minutes. If using confectionary sugar, dust after baking.

Thank you, Ellen! Readers: The Plum Tree is on sale now. For more information, visit the author’s website, Facebook page or Twitter.

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