Monday, January 31, 2011


The January 2011 Daring Baker's challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entrements dessert.

First reaction: A what?

Step 1: Find out what all that meant and try not to freak out about it.

Step 2: Look at the pictures posted and freak out.

Step 3: Try to read what is expected but still freaking out.

Step 4: Close the webpage and come back later to see if it looks less difficult at a second glance.

Step 5: After a few days, I looked again. I checked to see if anyone else had attempted it. Audax had. Caution: Audax appears capable of superhuman activity. How else can his preparation speed and skill be explained?

Step 6: Hey, that not so bad....Its a filled sponge cake. I can make sponge cake. I can make filling. I CAN do this!

Step 7: See people talking about their struggles.

Step 8: Plan the preparation. I decided it would be "easy". My plan was to create a layer of lemon mousse covered by a sponge cake layer and a layer of raspberry mousse.

Step 9: Buy ingredients that I think are needed.

Step 10: Changed my plan for filling from mousse (b/c I learned it traditionally contains raw eggs) to raspberry Bavarian Cream and Lemon Pana Cotta at the suggestion of Delphine. (Thanks, Delphine!)

Step 11: Find a recipe (with positive reviews) for pana cotta. Find a random recipe for Bavarian Cream. Recall that I have Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Raspberry Bavarian Cream is in there but its three pages long....I decided to go with the short "easy" version.

Step 12: Resolve design. Since I'm making it for lab birthday's for January, I decided to write Happy Birthday around the outside walls and put balloons between the two words. This proved to be a bit of a challenge. I started wondering if the letters needed to be backwards prior to making the mixture. I looked for a thin piece of paper. The most handy one was a gorcery receipt. I wrote the text normally, then flipped it as I would be later lifting the cake to see how the letters needed to be arranged. It turns out, that if you want to implement text it must be piped in a mirror image, that is, letters and words backwards. For the inner circles of sponge cake, I planned to pipe balloons.

Step 13: Execution: My friend Becky came over to help make the lab birthday cake. We made the patterned joconde paste first (the colored part). We divided the paste to create blue, red and purple mixtures. I have an icing piper but I only have two tips and neither was small enough for writing text. (Its a white piper with a cap and red capped plunger. The tips have a slight rim around the egde. If anyone out there knows where to find tips for it, please let me know.

Instead of a standard piping tool, we used ziploc sandwich bags with the corner clipped off of it. We lined the jellyroll pan with parchment paper and piperd our designs. Then we slid the jellyroll pans into the freezer. We tasted some of the remaining paste, ugh. It wasn't out thing. We hoped the cake tasted better than the paste.

Step 14: While the pattern froze, we prepared the sponge cake batter (joconde). It certainly smelled good.

Step 15: We pulled the the patterned jellyroll pan out of the freezer and poured the sponge cake around it and over it. Oy, it was a rather scant mixture. Though my jellyroll pan was smaller than specified by the recipe the sponge cake couldn't cover the whole surface. We spread it as best we could and popped it in the oven. We found the sponge cake took only 7 or 8 minutes in the oven, rather than the stated 15.

Step 16: Piping the round cakes: Since we now knew the yield of the sponge cake batter, we lined 2 cake pans which were 9 inches in diameter with parchment paper. We piped the joconde paste and decided to abandon the balloons for colorful dots. We popped the pans in the freezer and mixed the cake batter again. This round covered both cake pans well. :) After 7 minutes in the oven, the round sponge cakes were done too.

Step 17: After allowing the sponge cake to cool, Becky arranged the bread while I started the pana cotta. Oh no! We realized it was much runnier than anticipated. It would need some time to set up to prevent soaking through the cake. I placed it in the fridge and began the Bavarian cream.

Step 18: Tired. Frustrated. The Bavarian Cream didn't look right at all! It looked more like cottage cheese. Becky thought it tasted good but it wasn't redeemable. I needed to start over. Fortunately I didn't add the crushed raspberries to the mess. This time I went with Julia Child's recipe. Wow. Every detail was supplied. It might have taken her 3 pages but the recipe was flawless. When I finished with it, I had a grin as big as a pumpkin on my face. The Bavarian Cream was much thicker than the Pana Cotta, so once done, we were ready for assembly.

Step 19: Base of the cake: check

             Happy Birthday around the outside: check

             Layer of a half recipe of lemon pana cotta: check

             Round cake for the middle: check

             Bavarian cream: Check


Step 20: Cleaned what felt like the millionth of the dishes for the day and went to bed. I hoped as hard as I could that when I pulled the sides away from the springform that all would be solid rather than collapse before my eyes.

Step 21: I was definitely a little distracted with concern over the cake being a massive mess that morning. Concentrate!

Step 22: Super busy lab day in which my schedule changed and I had to go to a different campus to work for several hours. I started to get concerned about making it back to work to serve the cake!

Step 23: Made it back as one birthday person was about to clock out. Quick ...round everyone up for cake!

Step 24: Loosen the springform and holds! Whew.

Step 25: Slice after slice after slice. All are served.

Step 26: Reactions: I like the lemon best. I like the raspberry best. I like them both (least common). The texture is odd. I don't like it at all (but this person did manage to eat their part with no problem....hmmm.) Overall, it was very different from cakes we'd had in the past for birthdays. I can't say that it was a lab favorite but I can say that I liked it as something different. It was an awful lot of work though. Maybe using less time consuming filling would have been a good plan. I'm glad I tried it and I'm glad I can have confidence about making Bavarian cream and pana cotta and know how they're different!

Thanks for a great challenge.

Recipes follow:

Joconde Paste and Sponge: I used the mandatory recipe from The Daring Kitchen. I used hazelnut flour rather than almond flour.

Lemon Pana Cotta: I used this recipe from the food network. I only made the lemon part.

Bavarian Cream (this recipe resulted in a kitchen celebration, complete with singing, dancing, and huge smiles): I used Julia Child's from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Conveniently, it is reposted here. I cannot promise it has as much detail but it is complete with pictures and looks like it condenses all the needed information to one convenient location.

Bavarian Cream that failed and nearly caused tears: I would not recommend this recipe. It didn't work at all for me. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Double Take, sort of: Lemon Meringue Pie

Historically, Mel and I both like lemon meringue pie. (Truthfully, I pick lime over lemon given the choice but that's because I really love lime. Lemon is good too though.) Our preference is for citrus pie to be notably tart and it doesn't bother me if the tartness kind of slaps you in the face. That's not for everyone. However, if you like a tart pie, this recipe will get you pretty well there. You can add a little more juice if you like for extra POW.

The path to the tart pie requires pretty much the same ingredients as listed in the original Southern Living recipe BUT the execution as written is likely to give you a soggy "pie filling" experience, as Mel encountered with the recipe.  Lemon pie should set up well over a four hour span. Frankly, any curd (which is all the filling needs to be) should be expected to set up in 4 hours. Sorry, in case you're wondering what a curd is, its just a substance made by heating milk. For a pie filling, a curd typically involves: 1) heating the milk to a boil, 2) cooling it a bit, 3) slowly adding the hot milk to egg yolks while whisking, 4) returning the entire mixture to heat until thick like a pudding. A lemon curd is the basic filling for a lemon meringue pie.

An alternative filling for a lemon pie cuts out the heating milk/curd step by using sweetened condensed milk. This method requires NO stovetop work. Instead, you juice and zest the citrus, mix the components in a bowl, dump the mixture in a crust and're ready to add meringue. Its must easier and while there may be a curd recipe that tops it, I can't say this Southern Living curd beats it for flavor.

This recipe was an experiment in trying to make the pie a different way. Its good to try a new-to-you method because sometimes you find a new favorite or (at least) learn new things on the way. The following is the ingredients list used by Southern Living with my pie crust and my adaptations to how to allow the starch in the filling to do its job - rather than become a truly hot mess. Please note: if you follow the directions from the Southern Living link, your pie may not set as desired.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Step 1: Crust

This is my old faithful standby crust. To keep you from hunting all over my blog for it, I'm relisting it for your convenience.

Pie Crust (1 crust)

1 c. flour
½ tsp salt
3 rounded Tbsp Crisco (shortening)
3 Tbsp ice water


Measure flour and salt into a large bowl. Blend shortening into flour and salt with a pastry blender or fork until it reaches the consistency of heavy cornmeal. Add water 1 tablespoonful at a time, tossing wet and dry ingredients together with blender until all the flour is moistened. Turn out on floured board. Roll into a circle 1/8 to ¼ inch thick and large enough to allow 1 to 1 ½ inches hanging over the edge of the pie tin. Fold up and back to make an upright rim and flute with fingers. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Place another tin the same size over the crust. Bake 12 minutes at 450 F until browned at the bottom. Remove upper tin and allow inside of crust to brown.
Note: If rolled thinly, you can make the bottom and a lattice top using this recipe. The recipe can be doubled to prevent anxiety about having enough dough for an upper crust.

Lemon Meringue Pie Filling (adapted from Southern Living)


  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  cornstarch
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  large egg yolks
  • 2  cups  milk
  • 1/3  cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 3  tablespoons  butter or margarine
  • 1  teaspoon  grated lemon rind
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract

How To:

Place cornstarch in 1/4 c. cold milk. Stir well to dissolve completely.

Whisk together sugar and salt and place in a medium saucepan. DO NOT HEAT, yet.

Whisk together egg yolks, 1 3/4 c. milk, and lemon juice (add a little extra if you want more zing) in a bowl. Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture. Heat the solution at a medium heat setting.

Bring to a rolling boil. Maintain the boil and whisk constantly while boiling for 3-5 minutes. You want the mixture to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If your mixture isn't thick enough at 5 minutes, keep whisking. It could take up to 12 minutes. 

Once thick, remove the pan from heat. Stir in butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extra and whisk until smooth.

Lemon Meringue Pie Assembly (adapted from Southern Living)


  • 1 pie crust (see above or hit the grocery store)
  • 1 recipe for pie filling (see above)
  • 4  egg whites
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c.  sugar

How To:

Poke holes in your pie crust and bake at 375 F for 10 minutes. 
Prepare Lemon Meringue Pie Filling; pour into piecrust. Cover with plastic wrap, placing directly on filling. (Proceed immediately with next step to ensure that the meringue is spread over the pie filling while it is still warm.)

Beat egg whites and vanilla extract at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, gradually, and beat 2 to 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.
Remove plastic wrap from pie, and spread meringue evenly over warm Lemon Meringue Pie Filling, sealing edges.

Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Turn off oven, cool pie slowly. Remove from oven when cooled. It is recommended to place the pie in a refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving to allow the filling to be firm. 

Thoughts: To evaluate this pie, I compared it to my list of what a lemon meringue (or lime for that matter) should be like:

1) Tasty Crust (necessary for all pies) - Check
2) Firmly set but not chewy filling -        Check
3) Pronounced meringue peaks (this tends to be more ingredient and operator dependent) - Check
4) Light brown meringue toasting (operator dependent) - Check
5) Tart, flavorful filling (recipe dependent) - Check

Assessment: This is a pretty good lemon pie. The flavor from the sweetened condensed milk for the other recipe is a notch higher in my opinion but this one is still good. The ease of the recipe prepared with sweetened condensed milk (5-10 minutes prep time total) makes the sweetened condensed milk method a winner for time and overall flavor. HOWEVER, this is a worthy opponent and lends itself to alternative cooking for lactose intolerant and diabetic persons. Today's posted recipe can easily be made with silk and splenda and work well.

Hop, skip, or jump your way over the Mel's blog to see her slice of the lemon pie!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Double Take: Pork Scaloppine (Fancied up Fried Pork Chops)

As we've jumped around in the All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, we've found that while there've been some variations in our pleasure with recipes, we've consistently enjoyed their pork submissions. Mel and I both love pork so its always nice to add more pork options to list of those that are cycled through. Today's recipe looked pretty harmless. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the way my mom and grandma prepare pork tenderloin. There are a couple of changes this recipes makes from my mom and grandma and I'd class them as the small improvements that take the meat to the next level of tastiness. The differences are 1) frying the pork in a combination of butter and olive oil and 2) adding garlic powder to the seasoning mixture. Another addition is inclusion of cheese. I didn't find the amount of cheese to add much flavor to the recipe but I think its more in how it was applied. See my comments for more on this.

1 1/2 lbs pork loin
4 large eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. freshly grated romano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. butter/margarine
1/4 c. olive oil
2 lemons, quartered (optional)

Cut the pork into half inch slices. Place the pork between two sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallot or rolling pin. Whisk the eggs and the next 4 ingredients. ***Dredge the pork in the flour and shake to remove the excess and then dip it in the egg mixture. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet and cook it on medium high heat. Cook the pork in batches, 1 min / side until browned and then serve with the lemon quarters.

Pork Scaloppine (Pork Chop) with peas and macaroni and cheese

Comments: I prepared this recipe in half. I found that the eggs, milk, romano, garlic powder, and salt mixture was about twice the amount needed for dipping the pork loin. I really liked the flavor that cooking the pork in a combination of butter and olive oil gave it. As a whole, this tastes much like the pork tenderloin that my mom and mamaw make. The main flavor difference was the garlic powder. I love garlic so I enjoyed this dish. That being said, there's no point in buying romano cheese for this dish. The garlic masks it thoroughly. If you want cheese, I'd hold that part constant or double it while reducing the rest of the egg mixture in half. Also, I would use mozzarella or parmesan. Parmesan would probably be the closest substitution.To keep the cheese from getting lost, you could not include it in the egg mixture and dip the pork in the cheese (on a plate), followed by dipping it in the flour (on a separate plate). This is important to 1) be able to tell that you have plenty of cheese on the meat, 2) prevent cheese from being on the outer layer and burning while frying. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe. I didn't bother with lemon juice so I can't tell you quite how that would taste on here. My mom usually serves pork tenderloin with homemade stovetop version mac and cheese and peas. I was rather shocked when talking with other people to discover that many people haven't had homemade macaroni and cheese unless it was baked. Otherwise, they'd only had easy mac. I must assure you, stovetop macaroni and cheese is easy and wonderful. It isn't microwaveable in 1 minute (instead it takes about 15-20 minutes), but its worth the time and I cooked mine while I prepared the pork. The whole process took maybe 25 minutes. I'd recommend it highly.

For more thoughts on Pork Scaloppine (otherwise referred to in East Tennessee as fried pork tenderloin), pop over to Mel's blog.

How'd your mom/grandma make macaroni and cheese?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Daring Baker's Challenge: Stollen

Stollen: a traditional German Christmas bread which contains fruits and nuts

Initial reaction: Oh no, not fruitcake! It's not fruitcake though. If by fruitcake you think of a rum soaked brick of "pastry" filled with gummy items that are difficult to force yourself to chew, much less swallow. It is however a cake with fruit, nuts, and a hint of cinnamon. If you're looking for some smiling faces and a kitchen that smells nothing short of wonderful...keep reading. Be sure to wipe away all those images of your great aunt Ruth's brick of fruits and nuts and prepare to be impressed.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

The listed stollen recipe made a large quantity so I cut it in half to make it more manageable to eat. Note: half of this stollen is probably plenty for most families. The stollen recipe had 3 major parts: 1) preparation of candied citrus peel, 2) preparation of the dough at least a day in advance of baking, 3) warming the dough to room temp, rising and baking

Slice of Stollen, anyone?

Candied Citrus Peel (Time: 1.5 hours prep, 1 hour on a dehydrator--> 2.5 hours total)

This part was not a challenge requirement. However, I spent Christmas in a small town. Asking people if they had candied citrus peel got a number of puzzled looks. In reality, one store did have it though their associates were unaware it was a mere 5 feet from them. After experiencing sticker shock, I decided to make my own. If you don't have time, its not that expensive. Initially, I thought I'd be making the full recipe and that was good enough justification to make my own candied citrus. Plus you can dip it in chocolate. I was hesitant because I worried it would be like a gross gummy from fruitcakes past. I was wrong. They smell good at first, then weird but they taste good regardless.

I used the instructions here to get started.

Her explanation is complete with pictures for the steps so there's no sense at all in being redundant. I did make on change. I'm not a fan of oranges most of the time. Instead of 4 oranges, I used 4 tangerines and 2 lemons. I kept the 3 c. sugar and 1 c. water the same for the peels. For the final sugar coating, I only used 1/2 c. sugar. You can use more, but it just wastes and falls off. I tried using 3/4 c. but 1/4 c. easily fell off.

Prep the Dough (Time: About 1 hour) 

(For instructions with pictures for nearly every step, check out thedaringkitchen

Ingredients (adapted to make half a recipe, original source Penny from the Daring Kitchen)

1/8 cup (30ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
1 packages (2 1/4 teaspoons) (11 ml) (7 grams) (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
5 tablespoons (75 ml) (70 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
2 3/4 cups (660 ml) (13.5 ozs) (385 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting)
1/4 cup (60 ml) (57.5 gms) sugar
3/8 teaspoon (1 7/8 ml) (2 1/4 grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) (3 grams) cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 tangerine
1 teaspoons (5 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
3/8 cup (90 ml) (2 3/8 ozs) (67.5 grams) mixed peel (link above to make your own)
1/2 cup (120 ml) (3 ozs) (85 gms) firmly packed cranberries (can sub raisins)
1.5 tablespoons (22.5 ml) rum (I subbed the juice from the lemon and tangerine that I grated)
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional) (shudder, no thanks)
1/2 cup (120 ml) (1 3/4 ozs) (50 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath (2 Tbsp)
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath (1/2 to 3/4 c.)

How To:

In a small bowl, soak the cranberries/raisins in the rum (or in the juice from a lemon and tangerine) and set aside.

Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk and 5 tablespoons (75 ml) butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate.

Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins/cranberries will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins/cranberries will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins/cranberries onto the dough ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath (Time: 5 hours)

Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. (Since I halved the recipe, I rolled it to the 16 x 24 rectangle and rolled it up as directed. Mine had to be thinner than 1/4 of an inch but it worked.)

The rolled out dough looked and smelled wonderful.
 I love the way the cranberries and citrus peels contrast each other!

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape. (I didn't use a bowl and had no shape issues.)

Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Side View/Angled View

Top View.
After cutting the notches I pulled them away from the center just a little to help it form the wreath shape.

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. (I didn't really twist here. Instead I just pulled the segments outward a little and it made a wreath shape.)

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.

Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.

Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.

The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.

Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh - especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

Side/Angled View.
From here you can see that the stollen really did turn a mahogany color on the outer crust. 

Top View.
It held the shape quite well while baking.

Inside view. Its so pretty, I'm going to have to have another piece!

Reactions: Before I started making this, my sister made some faces. One sister thought the candied orange and lemon peels smelled awful. My other sister tried an orange peel and was surprised, responding "This is good." I tried one too and agreed. I was really concerned about them tasting like a jellied bit in a fruit cake. They were good though. I think they'd be good dipped in chocolate too. My hesitant sister asked what else was going in this pastry and was worried 1) that I was about to make an awful mess 2) that it wouldn't even taste good. I wasn't worried about the mess, but was unsure of how it would taste. This ended when I mixed up the dough. Holy cow, it smelled wonderful. Cinnamony with a hint of fruit. (Yes, Melanie I know you hate cinnamon. It would probably be good with cardamom too though.) The stollen really smelled a bit like rising cinnamon buns but much better. Cinnamon buns are just the only thing I can think to compare with the aroma. I placed the dough in the fridge and waited. The next morning I went through the shaping steps. My sisters were otherwise occupied. When they returned, the smell in the kitchen was fabulous. Tif was hungry and tired. She bit in her slice of stollen and told me she thought it was the best daring baking challenge I'd made. :) My brother in law reminded her that he liked the crostata too but they put them both at the top of the list. Final challenge: Mamaw. Mamaw is rather picky (like Tif) and neither of them go out of their way to try new things. Mamaw and I had just finished supper when I handed her some stollen slices I'd brought her. She was full but couldn't resist trying a tiny bite...and another...and then another. She had to put the bag away so she could save it for having with some coffee for breakfast. This is a definite winner and well worth the time.

Thanks for the great challenge!