This story has been updated to include additional information about the history of stollen.
Maybe it was part of President Trump’s ongoing campaign to end the “war on Christmas,” freeing up believers to openly extol the virtues of stollen bread without fear of running afoul of fruitcake hate groups.
Whatever the case, Trump on Sunday was responding to a tweet from Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the famous Southern Baptist pastor and president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., who suggested the president should have two years added to his first term as “pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.” The term “failed coup” was a reference to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s two-year investigation.
In a Sunday afternoon tweet that he later deleted, Trump wrote, “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…..” He later reposted the tweet without the typo.
The misspelling sent readers back to Germany in the Middle Ages, where stollen was first officially recorded in 1474, on “a bill at a Christian hospital called St. Bartholomew’s,” according to a history of the pastry on Dresdner Stollen, although some sources say stollen was created more than a century earlier around Dresden. It was a popular treat among the German elite.
Modern stollen is often prepared with dried or candied fruits, nuts, butter and more — and then dusted with powdered sugar so that the pastry resembles the “Christ Child wrapped in a blanket,” which explains why some call it Christstollen. But in the Middle Ages, stollen assumed a more ascetic persona during Lent and Advent, when the Catholic Church prohibited the use of luxury ingredients such as butter, whose absence made for a rather tasteless pastry. For four decades, Dresdeners Prince Ernst and his brother, Duke Albrecht, petitioned various popes to lift the ban. Finally, Pope Innocent VIII dropped the ban in Dresden only, but required bakers to pay a tax if they used butter during prohibited periods.
Only when Saxony — Dresden is the capital of the state — turned Protestant did the ban apparently get lifted for good. Incidentally, the term “stollen” is apparently derived from the German word for “tunnel,” specifically to the type of man-made tunnels carved into the earth. The area around Dresden has historically been mining country.
But for President Trump, his “stollen” tweet turned into another kind of mine — a minefield of ridicule.
In a December 2017 essay, food writer
Tiptoeing out of my bedroom just after sunrise, I would find the stollen waiting on the kitchen counter, snowcapped with a light coating of powdered sugar. My Christmas morning taste memories often revolve around toasting thick slabs of it, liberally slathering them in salted butter and dusting them with cinnamon sugar. Late in the morning, after a couple cups of coffee, my mom might fry up bacon and corn cakes — my dad’s favorite breakfast. But the stollen was always the star.
One of the keys to stollen, Hartke learned, is to prepare it in advance. With more than 230 days until Christmas, it’s a tad too early to bake stollen and freeze it for the holidays. But you could make some now, using Hartke’s recipe, and post a photo on Twitter, perhaps as a reminder to the president that things lost are not always stollen.