As someone with German heritage, Stollen is a staple cake for my family at this time of year. One of the lovely ladies at work brought in some Stollen in for everyone to try, as her husband had been working in Germany. I was quite surprised by how many people there hadn't tried it before. She converted a few people there though, with several of them saying they'd like to pick one up from the Christmas German market. It is actually far easier to find than that though, with many of the supermarkets stocking it. Some with many varieties.
Waitrose has gone one step further and unleashed Heston on this traditional Christmas treat. Well I couldn't wait to see what he'd done with one of my favourite cakes, he does like to add the odd unusual ingredient to get the taste buds working.
This very special Stollen has a layer of rich mincemeat and the dough is flavoured with a favourite ingredient of Heston, Earl Grey tea. I should have seen that coming. Once the box was open I took the Stollen out of the box and spotted that it was dusted with a heavy sprinkle of what looked like icing sugar, but this being a Heston cake, it was tangerine flavoured sugar, and it smelt amazing.
The cake cut easily, it still had the trade mark heaviness of Stollen, but it still felt quite light when eaten, which is impressive when you think about all the goodies packed into it. There were loads of fruity currants, raisins and sultanas giving it a very seasonal flavour. The extra taste from the tea was pleasant and floral, I do like the flavour of bergamot and felt it went really well with the fruit and citrus edge that this cake had. The marzipan in the centre was just a small amount, not too strong, but just to enough to ensure the original recipe was upheld in some respects at least.
It is a clever set of tastes as it still manages to be distinctly Stollen, but it does have its own twist. I absolutely loved it and it the perfect alternative dessert for this time of year, or for visitors with coffee – if you are willing to share. ;-)