A tea-time Stollen

>Today is Epiphany and all over France the arrival of the Kings is celebrated by baking a large galette of puff pastry stuffed with almond and rum and hiding in its delicate folds a “feve” or small porcelaine charm. I did the baking today and will give you the recipe tomorrow because it is the easiest and quickest patisserie ever! More on this tradition later.

In the south of France, the galette is replaced by a “Mouna”: a round brioche in the shape of a crown, flavoured with orange blossom flower and decorated with candied angelique and cherries. I like the kneading and the rising of a brioche or bread : I find there is something quite magical and fascinating about giving life to flour with yeast and elbow grease.
So I wanted to bake a brioche-like cake and found this Stollen cake recipe in Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekill, published in their dove grey cover and gorgeous end-papers by Persephone Books.
Here it is in all its “retro” charm and “odd” measuring standards:

One pound flour (1/2 lb. extra for kneading in), 5 oz. stoned raisins, 4 oz. sugar, 4 oz. butter, 2 eggs, 2 oz. bakers’ yeast. Pour a little lukewarm milk over the yeast, mix the warmed flour with a little milk, add yeast and mix. Place the dough in a warm place to rise for an hour. Mix int he melted butter, eggs, sugar, fruit, grated peel of a lemon, and somme candied peel, and knead well with remaining flour. Put back to rise for an hour. Place the dough on a baking sheet, making it into an oval flat shape, fold one side half over, brush with egg, strew with halved almonds and sugar. Bake 45mn in a hot oven. Sprinkle with icing sugar when baked.

I followed the recipe to the letter (using an old measuring jar) and ended with a gorgeous, plump cake as in the above picture. I now reserve it for tea with a friend and given the weather I think is should be a good plan for tomorrow in front of a smokeless coal fire!

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