Orange and pistachio stollen bars

We are making these yummies this afternoon, after Stewart brought some into work before Christmas and made us happy. The recipe is from the Guardian: Dan Lepard's orange and pistachio stollen bars: A twist on the German Christmas classic. Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian.


Very straightforward to make and outrageously good to eat. Be very generous when you brush the top with melted butter, and they'll keep very well. Serves six to eight.

175g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
125g full-fat cream cheese
2 tsp orange extract
1 tsp glycerine (optional; it helps keep the mix soft)
¾ tsp mixed spice
¾ tsp cardamom seeds, ground, husks discarded
1 medium egg
75g ground almonds
100g sultanas
100g shelled pistachios
250g strong white flour
1 tsp baking powder
275g marzipan 
Melted butter and icing sugar, to finish

Beat the caster sugar, butter, cream cheese, orange extract, glycerine (if using) and spices until smooth, then beat in the egg. Stir in the almonds, sultanas and pistachios, add the flour and baking powder, and mix to a soft dough. Chop the marzipan into 2cm pieces and mix through. Line a 20cm square tin with foil and spoon the dough into it. Wet your fingers or a spatula and press the dough evenly into the corners of the tray. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan-assisted)/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden on top. Leave in the tin to cool, then, while still warm, brush generously with melted butter and leave until cold before wrapping well.

To serve, peel off the foil, dredge heavily with icing sugar and slice into fingers. You can make this ahead of time because it will keep for up to a fortnight if well wrapped.

This recipe worked out very well. Lois and I made it this afternoon, substituting orange extract with the zest of one orange, and leaving out the glycerine. We cut the marzipane into smaller chunks than instructed, which gave a better result in my opinion. Here’s the result, acclaimed by all.