Byproducts- Part I
I am happy that I have chosen an industry (preserving) in which the bypropucts can be as useful and tasty as the preserves themselves. Although it is possible that head cheese would taste better if I made it myself I'm surely never going to find out.
Recently I made grafefruit jelly that called for using the zest of only one of the grapefruits. I couldn't bare to throw all that beautiful peel away so instead, I candied it.
Now I know you've read a million times that you don't want to eat the bitter white pith that lies just below citrus peels but when you are candying the peel, you are going to use the white part. That's how you end up with thick, succulent candied peel. The way to get around the bitterness is to boil the peels in fresh water for 5 minutes three seperate times. You end up with flaccid, mellowed out peels that are then ready for a final dip in sugar syrup before laying out to dry. You don't really need a recipe, just know that the sugar syrup should be a ratio of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. It shoulld cover the peels in the pan and you should slowly boil the peels until they are translucent (about 30 minutes if memory serves). These keep indefinitely and can be used in all manner of baked goods (candied orange peel and craisin scones anyone?) And if you were wondering, once candied, you can't really taste the difference between candied orange and candied grafefruit.
I used my peel to make stollen. Last year was the first time I'd ever had stollen and I quickly fell for this not to sweet bread full of nuts, candied fruit nuggets and a marzipan surprise. "I come from German heritage!" I thought. Where has this bread been my whole life? I vowed to make it this year for Christmas. That didn't happen but I did have the candied peel waiting patiently for me so here I am in January, baking stollen.
I found one recipe for it on Epicurious and as with other traditional recipes, the comments were full of tips and edicts about how to make real, traditional, authentic stollen. I am as big a fan of authenticity as the next girl but in my kitchen, I am American and I do what I want! Besides, what are the chances that I'd create an authentic version of a bread that I had only ever tried once and not in it's native surroundings? So I give you:
Rainbow Bread- aka Stollen My Way (based on a recipe from Epicurious)
I call this Rainbow Bread because I chose red cranberries, orange candied peel, yellow candied citron, green pistachios and purple dried Black currants. Feel free to use your own favored mix of dried fruits.
Note: This bread takes almost 7 hours from start to finish. With dumb luck I managed to work this around making preserves all day and going to a movie but you might want to plan better than I did!
1 1/3 c plus 1 1/2 tsp. lukewarm milk
1 1/2 tsp. lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 fresh yeast cake
2 2/3 c. flour
3 1/2 c. plus 3 Tbsp. flour
1 c. golden raisins
1/3 c. candied citron
1/3 c. candied grapefruit peel
1/3 c. mixed dried cherries, cranberries and black currants
2/3 c. pistachios
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. rum
1 Tbsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tube marzipan
Stir together the 1 1/2 tsp. milk, water and sugar. Add the yeast cake and mix until smooth. Let sit until foamy (note: It will not be as foamy as dry yeast). Add flour and and 1 1/3 c. milk and mix well. Cover and let rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Mix the fruit and nuts together in a bowl. Stir in the 3 Tbsp. flour. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, rum, spices, vanilla and salt. Add the sponge and mix well. Stir in the fruits and nuts. Start mixing in the flour 1 c. at a time until a slightly sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Put in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 2 1/2 hours.
The recipe calls for dividing the dough in half but next time, I would divide it into quarters. The marzipan surprise was sort of lost in such a large loaf (it's the whitish circle toward the top of the photo). So, divide dough in 4 equal parts. Shape each piece into a rectangle. Divide marzipan into 4 parts and roll into a rope the same length as tha bread is wide. Lay the marzipan across and swaddle it with the dough. It will look like this:
Cover and let rise for two hours. (Perfect amount of time to go to a movie Woohoo!)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until brown, about 50 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. I prefer mine with orange passionfruit marmelade. There will be plenty to share and people will appreciate that you are not trying to give them head cheese.