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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Put the sultanas in a heatproof bowl and pour over 100ml hot water from the kettle. Leave to soak for at least 2 hrs, or overnight.
Tip the flour, yeast, caster sugar, spices and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl. Heat the milk in a pan over a low heat or microwave until just warm, but do not boil. Whisk the vanilla and egg into the warm milk, and pour into the dry ingredients. Use your hands to combine everything into a soft dough, then tip out onto a work surface and knead for 8-10 mins until soft and springy. (You can also do this in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, for 5 mins.)
Drain the sultanas well and knead these into the dough along with the lemon zest and cherries until the fruit is evenly distributed. Clean the bowl and lightly oil it, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hrs, or until roughly doubled in size. You can also prove in the fridge overnight to enhance the flavour of the dough.
Line a 20 x 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. If the dough is chilled, leave it at room temperature for 1 hr before shaping. On a floured work surface, halve it and roll or stretch each piece into a square to fit the tin. Use one piece to line the base, then roll out the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar to the same size as the dough and lay it on top. Lay the second dough square over that, pinching it around the edges to seal in the marzipan. Cover loosely and prove again for 30 mins-1 hr, or until risen slightly. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Bake for 30 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins, then lift out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, cut into 25-36 mini squares (use a ruler if you want to be precise). Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat and use this to brush the tops of the stollen bites, then dust generously with the icing sugar. Leave to set for 30 mins, then serve. Will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.