Fruitcake gets a bad rap this time of year: always given and rarely eaten. But in Chef Hans Röckenwagner's world, no two fruitcakes are alike.
Growing up in Germany, Röckenwagner would get stollen, a fruit-studded bread blanketed in powdered sugar, from his Leipzig relatives every holiday season. But none of the L.A. versions were up to his standards, so he started making his own.
Although it resembles fruitcake, Röckenwagner's stollen--filled with rum-soaked raisins, almonds and candied citrus rind--is less dense and sugary-sweet than the traditional holiday dessert.
Right now, you'll find three sizes at his Mar Vista and Santa Monica bakeries, and at the 3 Square Café: the traditional oval two-pound loaf ($14), a smaller one-pound loaf ($9) and mini loaves ($3.25).
Röckenwagner suggests letting the bread sit in the wrapper for a week to intensify its flavors before indulging, but we think this stollen needs no aging--it's perfect served fresh, either as a dessert or a teatime snack.
At 3 Square, Röckenwagner also serves golden slices of stollen French toast with sweetened cranberry butter. Order a loaf and attach this recipe (click here to download) for a gift that someone might actually use.