(NC)—Did you know that the American fruitcake was adapted from one of the most famous German delicacies, "stollen." Since 1329, this unique "fruitcake" has been considered one of the most precious Christmas pastries in the world. The most famous kind of Stollen, which can be found at most local supermarkets, is called Dresdner Christstollen, originating from Dresden, Germany. This tasty version bursts with nuts and fruit and is sure to change your mind about the term "fruitcake."
Stollen makes an easy bread pudding because it comes already filled with currants, almonds, orange zest and cinnamon. Saving time at the bread pudding stage allows more time to lovingly prepare gasp-eliciting accompaniments such as creamy vanilla sauce and caramelized bananas. This can be a satisfying end to the big holiday dinner, or the highlight of a holiday brunch or an afternoon holiday party.
If you just can't get enough of Germany's tempting Stollen fruit breads during the Christmas season then this recipe is for you!
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or scraped seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 (48-ounce) loaf German stollen, stale, cut into crouton-sized cubes
1 (3 1/2-ounce) bar German dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons German pear brandy
Caramelized Bananas (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart baking pan, and set pan into a larger pan. Add water to the larger pan, preparing a water bath in which the pudding will bake.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Whisk in milk, cream and vanilla. Transfer 1 cup of this custard mixture to a saucepan and set aside.
Add stollen and chocolate to remaining custard mixture in the large bowl; stir well. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake until puffed and firm in the center, about 1 1/4 hours. Meanwhile, add pear brandy to reserved custard mixture and heat on medium-low, whisking constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (Be careful not to turn the heat too high or stop whisking, as the eggs might scramble.)
Remove pudding from oven and let cool before slicing. Meanwhile, prepare Caramelized Bananas. To serve, place a few warm banana slices on each plate, top with a square of warm bread pudding, and drizzle with warm custard sauce.
Slice 4 medium bananas. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet until melted. Turn heat to medium and stir in 3 tablespoons sugar. Add banana slices and cook until brown; turn with a spatula and cook again until brown. Remove from heat and serve.