- Combine the golden raisins, currants, and diced candied fruits in a bowl and stir in the Cognac. Stir it from time to time over an hour or more.
- Roll the dough out on a pastry cloth as thin as you can. Sprinkle the drained fruits and the almonds over the dough.
- Roll the dough up and knead it as lightly as possible until the fruits and nuts are evenly distributed. Do not overwork the dough or it will turn gray. It will be quite saturated.
- Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll each out into an oval and then fold it just to one side of the long axis so you get the familiar overlapped stollen shape.
- Gently transfer each loaf to a large greased baking sheet.
- Brush each loaf with melted butter and allow to rise until puffy. This may take a long time even in a warm kitchen.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- When the dough has risen well, brush again with melted butter and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
- Brush the finished stollens with melted butter again and let them cool.
- When completely cool, brush with melted butter one more time, then dust with Vanilla Sugar and wrap in foil. Serve on Christmas morning, sliced very thin on the bias.
Vanilla Sugar is just Confectioners' Sugar in which a vanilla bean has been buried for a few days so it imparts its flavor.
This is an awfully tricky recipe. All the steps are familiar, but the dough is very rich and difficult for the yeast to work in, so you must be patient. Let the Rich Sour Cream Dough rise in the refrigerator before working with it, and then use light hands and lots of intuition to coax it to success.