• Raz and Ohad Ben Ami. Photo courtesy of the family.
    Raz and Ohad Ben Ami. Photo courtesy of the family.
  • Stollen. Photo: Adi Shilon
    Stollen. Photo: Adi Shilon
Recipe

Raz Ben Ami’s Stollen

Their favorite dish: Raz Ben Ami is the champion of dough. Adi Shilon made a stollen cake full of goodness in her honor

Raz Ben Ami is someone anyone would want to count as a close friend. She always has something positive to say. Her endless creativity is manifested differently, but always present, in each period of her life, such that she began with painting, then fimo jewelry, bead necklaces, to huge dream catchers, then macrame and taking care of her plants.

Raz met Ohad at the Meymadion waterpark where the two worked as lifeguards. Raz was then dating the boss and Ohad fought for her, until she fell victim to his charms. They started their life together in Modi’in, though when Kibbutz Be’eri called to inform them that a place had opened up, Ohad was quick to agree without even consulting Raz. Raz and her family are intrinsically linked: with her beloved Ohad, she raises three charming daughters who love to learn from her and draw inspiration from her creativity. Their home in the kibbutz is all green, full of pots, plants and joy. Her daughter Ella says that Raz talks to the plants as if they were her children. Raz uses her talents to volunteer at the kibbutz with seniors, where she does crafts with them.

For the past 13 years Raz has been dealing with brain and spinal lesions. She suffers from severe pain, cannot bend down and never complains. When asked how she is doing, she always answers with typical optimism and says, “everything is fine”. Ohad accompanies her to every test, though the two insist on calling it a “date”.

Ella says that family Fridays are Raz’s superpower. Despite the physical difficulty, she insists on cooking Friday night dinner. The whole family is vegetarian, except for Ohad, and Raz delights with vegetarian delicacies every week. Rumor has it that her popsicles are especially wonderful. Beyond that, Raz is the champion of challahs and doughs, whenever possible with almonds. When she bakes with her daughter, Raz is in charge of the dough and Ella braids the challah. Baking is a shared joy.

Raz and Ohad Ben Ami were kidnapped on October 7th from their home in Kibbutz Be’eri by Hamas. After 54 days in captivity, Raz was returned.
After 54 days in captivity, Raz returned.

Ohad Ben Ami’s Favorite Sabrina

Ingredients for Stollen

  • 1 cup (230 grams) milk tepid
  • 1½ tablespoons (12 grams) Dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) Sugar
  • 4 cups (520 grams) flour high gluten
  • 1 egg L
  • 2 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 3/4 cups (170 grams) butter very soft
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract high quality
  • grated lemon peel from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • a little ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8.1 oz (230 grams) marzipan divided in two

Additions:

  • 8.8 oz (250 grams) raisins
  • 6 oz (170 grams) candied citrus peel cut into small cubes
  • 3 oz (85 grams) almonds finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) rum liqueur dark, good quality

To finish:

  • 120 grams butter melted
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting (generously)

Instructions

  • 1. Place the raisins, citrus peel and almonds in a bowl and pour the rum over it. Mix to combine. Set aside and let the mixture absorb the alcohol while the dough rises.

  • 2. Mix the yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar with the lukewarm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes.  

  • 3. Add the flour, remaining sugar, eggs, yolks, butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and spices to the bowl. Mix on medium speed for about ten minutes. Set aside to rise in a greased bowl, covered, in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

  • 4. Punch the dough down and add the drained fruit/nut mixture. Knead until combined. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  • 5. Place the dough on a floured work surface and divide in half. Flatten each half into an oval a little less than half an inch (1 cm) thick. Roll each half of the marzipan into a log and gently press into the center of the dough. Fold the left side of the dough over to cover the marzipan and fold the right side over the left side but not all the way. Let's say until 3/4. Pinch to seal the marzipan at the edges and along the seam. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. At this stage, you can take off all the raisins that stick out of the dough so that they don't burn during baking.

  • 6. Heat the oven to 350F (175C) degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden.

  • 7. Cool for about 5 minutes, pierce the entire stollen with a toothpick and generously brush with the melted butter. Immediately dust with a generous amount of confectioner's sugar.

  • 8. Cool completely and sprinkle with another generous dusting of confectioner's sugar. You can serve it this way or in the traditional fashion: wrap the stollen well and let it "ripen" in a cool place for two weeks. The liquids from the dried fruit seep into the dough and keep it moist.

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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