12 December, 2014

12 Days of Christmas, Day 12: Kringle

Kringle is a dessert that, being from the northern Midwest, I am quite familiar with.  They are common enough that there is a company in Wisconsin that does nothing but make Danish Kringles year 'round.  I know because I have ordered one...it was delightful.  But I couldn't help but wonder if I could make it myself.  You know...that whole "fresh is best" theory that I have.  I wonder...

I am sure that the recipe that follows is a total sacrilege of the tradition, but...you gotta start somewhere, and they weren't going to advertize their recipe, now were they?  Nope.


2 c. pecans
1 1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 T. pats

4 c. flour
16 T. (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, 1 T. pats and cold
4 T. lard
2 T. powdered sugar
2 1/4 tsp. rapid-rise yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
2 c. sour cream
2 T. cold water
1 large egg, beaten

1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or vanilla extract

Make the filling by processing sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to bowl.

To make the dough add flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and shortening to empty food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to bowl and stir in sour cream until dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and form a foot and a half long roll.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.  I did mine overnight just because I was busy.

To roll out the dough roll the dough into a length of approximately 48 inches long and 6 inches high.  Starting 2 inches in from the left end pour the filling down the center and bring it all the way down to the other end of the strip leaving 2 inches without filling on it.

With a small bowl of water (the 2 T.) at the ready, dip your fingers in the water and slowly run them down the filling lightly.  Then fold the top edge of dough down onto the filling.

Now, dip your hands in the water again, getting just the tips of your fingers wet, and run the fingers along the flap of dough that you just folded down onto the filling.  Then fold the bottom flap of dough over the other flap you just folded down from the top.

Now using the parchment paper, lift up the long edge of paper furthest away from you and roll the dough towards you, so the seam is now down on the parchment paper.  Once you've done that, carefully gather the two ends of the kringle and bring them to each other and open the flap of dough on the left hand side and insert the end of dough in your right hand.  (Don't worry, if you think it will effect the appearance, it won't.  The icing will cover up the flap.)

Let the kringle rest for 4 to 12 hours before baking.  When you've preheated the oven to 350 degrees, brush the kringle with a beaten egg.

Bake the kringle for 50-60 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees half way through baking.  ***The filling may ooze out if the seals broke during baking.  Don't worry.  The filling candies when it oozes out.  Any that presents itself can be cut away from the kringle easily and again...can be covered up with the icing job you do when the kringle cools.  Wait a minimum of 1 hour for the kringle to cool before you ice it.

To make the icing whisk together the sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until any lumps of sugar are gone.  Drizzle the icing over the kringle with a spoon or do what I do and buy those short, fat bottles made by Wilton from Wal-Mart and put the icing in there and squirt it onto the kringle evenly.

The kringle is effectively made out of bread dough...yeast.  So, this won't keep much longer than 2 days without you needing to do different things to refresh and loosen the glutens in it somehow.  Which is usually....warming it up, and that's about it and even then.....there is just nothing like the same day as it was made.  Ever.

Make sure that you cut the kringle into sane sized slices when you serve it....  That way people have the choice of eating it with their hands or a fork.  Both are appropriate.  One last side note, the only other fillings I would bother putting in these are spiced apple or cherry.  Not many other fruits would hold up to the baking time that the dough calls for.  Raspberries would disintegrate completely, for instance.  I suppose you could try some other stone fruits (peaches, etc.) but, cherries seem to be the most traditionally Dutch.

Everyone that tried the kringle loved it.  I loved it.  Truly....that should be all that matters, but I am a people pleaser.  The Mister liked it, the in laws LOVED it (ate almost half of it themselves....good use, I say!), and the half of it I sent to work with the Mister for his office mates liked it as well.  The one guy who called it a "squashed cinnamon roll" is on my naughty list for Christmas though.

The dough turned out beautifully tender and flaky, the filling was just the right amount of nutty and sweet and the icing added beauty and a creaminess that I didn't expect.  Almost the perfect dessert.  But this is an item that could serve as a dessert OR an article on the Christmas breakfast table.  Scrambled eggs, meat of your choosing, slab of kringle, and a tall glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.  Sounds like a plan to me!

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