My fruitcake was stollen

Did you know? Germans do holiday cake right
By Paul Viau | Nov 24, 2011
Photo by: Stollen photo STOLLEN FOUND — Did you know? You can find traditional German Christmas stollen at ALDI grocery in Asheville.

Nothing brings out the joy (and madness) of the holidays like fruitcake.

Case in point was a publishing department Christmas party I had the “privilege” of attending many years ago. Everyone in the department was contributing to the dinner, and the partiers were all abuzz about whether George would bring his @#$&! fruitcake again.

Sheryl, the senior member of the gathering (the one who had endured so many painful fruitcake-filled office functions) was making a stand — “If he brings that (expletive deleted) fruitcake again, I’m throwing it in the pool!”

This all happened about the time David Letterman was doing a recurring bit on "The Late Show" called “Will it float?”

There was no doubt on anyone’s mind that if George’s fruitcake made another appearance, it would be tossed … and it would be a real sinker.

That’s the problem with fruitcake — it’s so dang dense. Really, could you put any more candied fruit and nuts into a baked good and still have it hold its shape? I don’t think so. But more rum might help.

That’s why I prefer the lighter fruit-filled holiday treat: stollen.

Did you know? — Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually made (and consumed) during the Christmas season. Stollen is more like bread than cake, but to its credit, is still filled with many of the same candied fruits, raisins and almonds as the brickyard, belly-bomb version of fruitcake.

Traditional German stollen often has a surprise center of (I’m salivating at the very thought of this word.) marzipan.

Did you know? Stollen wasn’t always so rich. The original stollen was baked during Advent season at the Saxon Royal Court in 1427. Advent was a time of fasting, so no butter could be used in making of stollen — only oil. It wasn’t ‘til Saxony became Protestant that butter was permitted in making of stollen. That “opened the floodgates” for yummier stollen.

At this point, I’d like to give a big shout out to my Italian gumbas, who are right now chanting, “Panettone, Panettone, Panettone!”

Yes, Panettone is another lighter version of fruitcake. However, it is some 500 years newer than stollen, and contains no marzipan. Putting this into perspective, guys, Christopher Columbus might have had stollen on his ship, but Panettone didn’t make its maiden voyage until after World War 1.

In my book, (which I still haven’t written) stollen rules as the best Christmas bread.

And now I offer you a festive breakfast idea — make French toast with stollen.

If you’re lucky, like I am this Thanksgiving morning, the milk is sour and I need to add cream to my egg mixture. Oh dear, no cream — I guess I’ll have to use Bailey’s Irish Cream.

I guess this will be German/Irish/French toast. Magnifique! Wunderbar!

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