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Easy Cherry Stollen

2 cups all-purpose flour
cup sugar
1 t. baking powder
t. salt
cup cold butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
cup red candied cherries, coarsely chopped
cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 t. vanilla extract
t. grated fresh lemon peel
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
Confectioners' sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease large cookie sheet. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender or 2 knives used scissor-fashion, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. With spoon, stir in ricotta until moistened. Stir in candied cherries, dried cherries, pecans, vanilla, lemon peel, egg, and egg yolk until well combined. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; gently knead dough 2 or 3 times to blend. With floured rolling pin, roll dough into 10" by 8" oval. Fold lengthwise almost in half, letting bottom dough extend about 1 inch beyond edge of top dough. Place stollen on prepared cookie sheet. Bake stollen 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove stollen from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar to serve, if you like.
Yield: 1 loaf (12 servings).