Christmas markets by day

Today’s recipe: Christstollen (The recipe is at the very end of the post. Da ist auch ein Link zu einem Deutschen Rezept ganz unten.)

A traditional German Christstollen.
I had hoped to get to another Christmas market of an evening to practice my night (naught) photographic skills, but (lucky for you) I have been unable to get to any of late (and late) so day views of how it gets set up (with German efficiency) and clearer photos are on today’s order. Phew, that was a long self-interrupting sentence.

A Christmas market scene in Heilbronn.

Last week we went to Heilbronn, the next biggest shopping city, and spent the day ambling around the stalls and shops. Other than drinking “Gluhwein” (mulled wine) and eating foot long sausages, there ain’t much I need at the markets, but I love walking around and imbuing the vibe. I didn’t get a particularly good photo of the sausage man unfortunately, but he had a foot long moustache to go with his sausage.

The sausage man at Heilbron.

Other than the problem of needing nothing from the Christmas market, I made one further mistake and that being that I took The Husband with me. The question “Do you really need that?” is probably the dumbest question on the planet. Of course I don’t need it, but I WANT it. Shopping with husbands reminds me of a joke I heard (don’t know whose it is so can’t give credit, sorry)

Three women bump into each other in a supermarket/shop, all of them looking for their husbands. One asks one of the others to describe her husband just incase she had seen him on her search. “He’s tall, dark handsome – looks a bit like George Clooney” (okay, so I added the George bit), she said. “Well, then”, said the other lady, “I think we’ll all just look for your husband.”

Sounds good to me! Next time I see a woman looking for her husband, I too will ask what he looks like. I spend a good 15 minutes (fuming) looking for Joerg in Walmart when an employer asked me if I needed help. Must have been all the loud mumbling in German that got his attention and/or the look of thunder on my face. I mentioned the Lost Husband problem and he smiled knowingly and said, “Oh we call for lost children AND for lost husbands.” Seems I’m not the only scary looking wife pacing the malls. Didn’t help though - the (naughty) husband didn’t even hear his name being called over the thundering loud speaker system.

Another place I regularly lose my husband is in Barnes and Noble, or the library as he calls it. The last time I found him he was reading Nancy Friday – and our lives haven’t been the same since. “Know I know what you’re thinking” , he beamed at me. Seems Nancy writes books about what women think about. Personally I think she’s a man masquerading as a woman, ‘cos she definitely thinks man thoughts if you get what I mean.

Whenever I say, “Dear, I was just thinking…”, before I get any further he’s taking his clothes off! “I was just thinking that it’s going to be pretty dangerous mowing the lawn like that dear,” is what follows. Poor man. He’s since gone back to reading about building this and inventing that – but he still casts a wistful glance at Nancy on his way by.

So, pray tell, how did I get from a Christmas market to Nancy Friday? Hell, don’t ask me! All I know is, it’s time to go downstairs and have coffee and Christstollen (see, I can always get back to THE RECIPES!), so here are some photos from the market to keep you company while I put on some (unneeded but tasty) calories.

PS: Christstollen is a traditional German Christmas cake originating from Dresden. Oops, then I went online and discovered that it originates from Hungary, but the first place that served it as a Christmas cake was Dresden. There is a wonderfully interesting piece on Wikipedia about it.

Christmas market in Heilbronn.

Another view of the Christmas market in Heilbronn.

(Makes one very big cake that keeps well.)

Yeast: this recipe calls for fresh yeast, but you can use dry yeast. Read the instructions on the packet or container and use the amount suggested for 750g – 1kg of flour.

Raisins & currants: You can use the one or the other should you not be able to get your hands on both. But don’t tell anyone I said so!

Nuts: Some recipes use only almonds so go ahead and use what you like or have.

Orange and lemon: If you don’t have an orange on hand, then use a whole lemon.

Eggs: In another recipe they used 2 whole eggs – once again, use what you have on hand. If you want to use the whites for meringues, then use only the yolks.

Alcohol: Rum is most commonly used, but I have seen recipes which use Arrak, so again, do what you want. Although I have never tried it, you could probably replace the alcohol with tea should you wish not to use any alcohol.

750g flour
50g fresh yeast OR see above for dry
125g sugar
250ml milk, lukewarm
250g fat (butter, lard or schmalz)
2 egg yolks, see note above
2 knife points of salt
2 pkts vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla essence
1 knifepoint nutmeg

150g raisins
150g currants
½ orange, zest and juice
½ lemon, zest and juice
50g candied orange peel (orangeat)
50 g candied citrus peel (citronat)
100g hazelnuts, chopped
50g almonds, chopped
2 -4 tbsp rum, cognac or other alcohol

150g butter, to brush

1. Place the raisins, currants, zests and juices, candied fruit, nuts and rum in a container and leave overnight to plump up and let the flavors mingle.
2. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well. Break in (or sprinkle) the yeast, add 2 tbsp of sugar and pour in the milk. Leave for 20 minutes.

3. Then add the rest of the sugar, the fat, yolks, salt, vanilla and nutmeg and knead the dough thoroughly. Rest the dough for 15 minutes. Knead in the rum soaked fruit and nuts and then leave to rise again for a further 15 minutes.

4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 30cm long and 5cm thick. Fold the dough over about two thirds of the way then leave to rise for at least 30 minutes more.

5. Heat the oven to 200C and bake the stollen for about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the still warm stollen with the melted butter. Wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment paper the stollen will easily keep for 2 weeks.

Wikipedia linked to this site which also has a recipe for Christstollen (it’s below the German recipe.)

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Hi Crystal,

Thanks for stopping my blog earlier and nice to meet you. If I'm not mistaken, you should be from Germany! German is a beautiful country and your pictutes look great. Love the X'mas Stollen you made! I'm saving the recipe for later use. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family & friends during this festive season. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! May your wishes come true! Cheers.

Best wishes, Kristy

Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Kristy
I love your blog too
especially the doggy sandwich picture! And the Singapore shots are great too. And everything else!
Have a great Christmas and New Year.
Kind regards

You have my full agreement

You have my full agreement with regards to the stupid questions, my husband asks them all too often.

I have market envy. I wish we had something like that around here, ah well a good excuse to head to Europe sometime soon.

The Christstollen sounds absolutely delicious and if I was all unpacked, I'd be making a batch. Unfortunately I'm still in boxes so that will have to wait. Hope the holidays are treating you well.

Crystal, Patti from Cape Code

Patti from Cape Code here! This is my first visit to your blog, because I have the day off and I hate looking at the computer after work. I LOVE IT! You certainly brighten my day. Your recipes look (yes, look yummy, so you are doing a fine job with the photos). The only thing is I need to convert the measurements. You are just too funny. The Christmas markets looks so nice and festive. Have A Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays

Lovely blog you have here. The stollen looks absolutely delicious. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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