Hutzelbrot - Swabian Fruitbread
Another German Christmas tradition! I love this for a nice Christmas breakfast or with coffee instead of a cake or cookies. "Hutzle" is a funny sounding word that means "dried pear" in the Swabian dialect. "Brot" means "bread".
It looks like nothing, but is ever so good...
250 g dried pears
250 g prunes
125 g dried figs
250 g flour
1/2 yeast cake (21 g)
100 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
30 g candied lemon peel (finely chopped)
30 g candied orange peel (finely chopped)
125 chopped almonds
125 g chopped walnuts
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp anise seed
1 tsp allspice
4 tsp starch (corn or potato)
soak pears in 1/2 liter water for 3 hours (if they are too tough to cut), slice and simmer in soaking water for 20 min. till soft. Drain, but keep the water.
Cut stripes from prunes and figs also and let them sit with the pears over night.
Put flour in a bowl. Dissolve yeast in 2 tbsp of (warm) cooking water of the pears. Add remaining ingredients and knead. If dough is too dry add more cooking water. Form 3 small loaves and let them prove for 2 hours. If you like decorate with almonds, nuts or candied fruit. Bake at 175°C/350°F for 1 hour. Dissolve starch in 2 tbsp cooking water. 10 minutes before the end of baking time brush over breads. Repeat just after baking.
The bread is much better when it has sat for several days. Slice and eat with a little butter.