You might have heard about Stollen – one of Germany's traditional Christmas specialties. It's a kind of fruit bread (for a great recipe see David Lebovitz's) and can be found everywhere in Germany (and many other places) around this time of the year. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without its rich flavors.
In my family though, a different recipe has been handed down for generations. It’s not exactly Stollen, but very similar, and I like it even better than the original Stollen. The name is somewhat strange, literally translating to something like “water flip”, after a necessary part of the preparation process (read ahead). The texture is dense, the flavor rich, and nothing tastes better on a cold and snowy afternoon than a thick slice of Wasserkringel.
I usually prepare one by mid December and it will last almost until Christmas, when more goodies fill the table. Just wrap the Wasserkringel in some aluminum foil and it will stay fresh for about 2 weeks (though it is best within the first 3-4 days).
500g (1 lb.) flour
250g (1/2 lb.) butter (plus one tablespoon)
125g (1/2 cup) sugar
150g (2/3 cup) raisins
150g (2/3 cup) almonds
about 25g (1 oz.) fresh yeast (or enough for 500g flour)
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Knead flour, eggs, butter (at room temperature) and yeast until combined and smooth (using your hands will work best).
2. Place the dough onto a clean kitchen towel (cloth) and tie it up. Place the dough into a big bowl, bucket or pot filled with cold water. Let rest for about an hour. The dough should turn or flip (that’s where the name comes from), but don't worry if it doesn't.
3. Preheat oven to about 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
4. Remove dough from towel and add sugar, raisins, half of the almonds and juice of one lemon (add some zest, too, if you want). Knead until well combined. Shape into an oval and place on a baking sheet (buttered or lined with parchment paper). Put the rest of the almonds on top and finish with some butter flakes.
5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
6. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Enjoy and have a wonderful, delicious holiday season!