Every December Dresden holds its annual Stollen Festival. It is a celebration of all things Stollen and involves among other things, electing the Dresden Stollen Maiden (Dresdner Stollenmädchen) and baking the world’s largest Stollen in accordance with the standards laid down by the Stollenschutzverband. This is a recipe for a stollen of more modest proportions although you can multiply the quantities by 1,000 if you are feeling ambitious.

Preparation time: 45 minutes plus 1 – 1 ½ hours proving
Cooking time: 20 – 25 minutes
Skill level: Medium


  • raisins – 75g
  • sultanas – 75g
  • mixed peel – 25g
  • Glacé cherries – 50g – chopped
  • blanched almonds – 50g – chopped
  • strong white bread flour – 375g
  • caster sugar – 50g
  • 1 medium egg – beaten
  • unsalted butter – 65g – melted
  • warm milk – 150ml – plus 1-2 tbsp, if needed
  • white marzipan – 200g
  • zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 10 cardamom pods – crushed and shells removed
  • nutmeg – a grating
  • vanilla extract – 1 tbsp
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • icing sugar, for dusting

In a bowl, mix together the raisins, sultanas, peel, cherries, almonds, lemon zest, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Cover and leave to stand while making the dough.

Put the flour, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and add the egg, 50g of the melted butter and 150ml milk. Mix the ingredients to form a dough. If the dough feels dry and crumbly, add a further 1-2 tbsp milk.

Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1¼ hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Gradually knead in the fruit mixture until it is evenly distributed through the dough. This is a fiddly, sticky process but be patient, the fruit will eventually mix in with the dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

A random selection of lovely Dresdner Stollenmädchen
A random selection of lovely Dresdner Stollenmädchen

Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).

Shape the marzipan into a log about 30cm long, and set aside.

Roll out the dough to a 30 x 16cm rectangle. Place the marzipan log on top of the dough, slightly off centre. Dampen the wider side of the dough with water, then fold it over the marzipan, pressing it down gently on the other side, to secure.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet, cover with lightly greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and pale golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining melted butter. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Once cool, dust generously with icing sugar.

Verdict: Our survey suggests this is 27.6 times better than anything you’ll buy in the shops. Rich, sticky but not too sweet. Marzipan, as they say, rocks.

Drink: How about a chilled glass of Eiswein?

Entertainment: A waltz with a lovely Dresdner Stollenmädchen.

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