Vegan stollen - this vegan version of a traditional German Stollen is a wonderful treat for Christmas. You can eat it right away or make it in advance and let it mature for a couple of weeks before serving for the best flavour.
You need to make this stollen over the course of three days. On the evening of the first day, mix together the raisins, candied mixed peel and rum. Give it a good stir, cover and leave to soak overnight.
The following day, stir the chopped almonds into the fruit mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the plain flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.
Add the lukewarm non-dairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts, grated orange and lemon zest and softened vegan block butter.
Give it a good mix until it forms a rough dough then knead with the mixer on a high speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and elastic and it comes away from the sides of the bowl cleanly.
If you don't have a stand mixer you can knead the dough by hand on an unfloured surface for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth, stretchy and no longer sticky.
Add the soaked fruit and nut mixture and knead until it is well distributed.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl and set aside to rise in a warm spot until it has almost doubled in size. This can take 5-8 hours depending on how warm it is.
Once the dough has risen, place the covered bowl in the fridge overnight.
The following day, remove the bowl from the fridge and leave it to come up to room temperature for 2 hours.
Knock the dough back and divide it into two equal pieces (I use a scale for accuracy).
Roll each ball of dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rough rectangle about 1 - 1 ½ cm thick.
Divide the marzipan in half and roll each half into a log a little shorter than your dough rectangles. Place the marzipan logs just off centre on the dough.
Fold the smaller half of dough over the marzipan then fold the other half over the top and press gently to seal. Make sure that the ends are also sealed.
Place the logs well spaced apart on a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet and loosely cover. Set aside to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours until they have increased in size by 50%. They will not double. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Once the logs are puffy, bake them for 40-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches at least 94°C/201°F on a probe thermometer. If they start to become too dark before they are ready you can loosely cover them with tin foil.
Once the stollen are baked, remove the logs from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove any raisins from the surface as they will be burnt and bitter.
Brush the stollen generously with the melted vegan butter and leave it to set.
Once the butter has set, sprinkle them with a thick layer of sifted icing sugar and leave to cool completely.
Once the stollen are completely cold, wrap them first in a layer of baking parchment then a layer of tin foil and store in a cool, dry place for up to six weeks.