Our version of this 14th-century German holiday bread contains a lot less butter, but is chock-full of dried fruits and has the same characteristic firm, dry texture of the original.
1/4 cup kirsch (cherry brandy) or apple juice
3 tablespoons candied lemon peel
3 tablespoons candied orange peel
3 tablespoons candied citron
3 tablespoons dried currants
3 tablespoons golden raisins
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
How to Make It
To prepare the marinated fruit, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and let stand 1 hour. Drain the mixture in a sieve over a bowl, reserving the brandy and fruit mixture separately.
To prepare dough, dissolve yeast and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, reserved brandy, milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, salt, and egg to yeast mixture; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Stir in marinated fruit, 1 1/2 cups flour, and almonds. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray; turn to coat top. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, about 2 hours. Dough will not double in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll into a 13 x 8-inch oval on a lightly floured surface. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; fold dough over lengthwise, leaving a 3-inch border. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover dough, and bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped; cool. Brush with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with powdered sugar.