It’s not Christmas in our household until a batch of cranberry, pistachio and marzipan stollen has been baked. The recipe, originally from Dan Lepard isn’t the classic bready stollen, but a dough mixture. This gives it a firm but slightly crumbly texture. Not only does it taste of Christmas, filled with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange, but the smell when it’s baking is just as festive. The scent of melting marzipan and cranberry fills the air.

The joy of this recipe is that you can change it to your personal tastes. Should you have a strong aversion to dried fruit, just swap the cranberries for hazelnuts maybe, or some pecans. On the other hand, if dried fruit is just your thing, why not throw in some currants, raisins and candied peel to make it as festive as possible.

When it’s fresh out the oven it’s covered generously with melted butter and lots of lots of icing sugar. This keeps it fresh, as well as providing a slightly sweet flavour to quite a savoury dough. As the sweetness only comes from the icing sugar, it means you can get through quite a few pieces before the sugar rush hits, which is no bad thing.

I’ve got into a habit of baking a batch of stollen on the same day the Christmas tree goes up. While the fairy lights are being arranged around the branches, and the silver skating boot has found a branch strong enough to hold it, the stollen is baking. It marks the start of the festive season and the start of having The Pogues on repeat for the next few weeks. These bars make a great Christmas Day breakfast with a glass of Buck’s Fizz…because if you can’t drink Prosecco and eat cake early in the morning on Christmas Day, when can you?

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The Recipe – Originally from Dan Lepard (Makes around 20 pieces)

175g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
125g full-fat cream cheese
2 tsp. orange extract
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. mixed spice
Grating of nutmeg
1 egg
75g ground almonds
100g dried cranberries
100g shelled pistachios
250g strong white bread flour
1 tsp. baking powder
250g golden marzipan
Melted butter
Lots of icing sugar

– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
– In a bowl, beat the caster sugar with the butter.
– Add the cream cheese, orange extract, spices and egg.
– Beat until the mixture is smooth and everything is combined.
– Fold through the ground almonds, dried cranberries, pistachios, flour and baking powder.
– The mixture will be quite stiff but this is how it’s meant to be.
– Chop the marzipan into 2cm chunks and fold these through too.
– Line a 20cm square tin with foil.
– Place the dough mixture into the tin. You may need to wet the back of a spatula to even the dough out.
– Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
– While cooling, brush with lots of melted butter.
– Once cool, remove the stollen from the tin.
– Peel off the foil and dust very generously with icing sugar.
– Cut into whatever size pieces you’d like.
– Eat warm with a mug of mulled wine, a glass of Buck’s Fizz, or any other festive drink you fancy.