Peabody of food blogging fame has recently purchased a home. She and her husband have quite the lovely new digs, and I must admit I am more than a little jealous of that amazing new kitchen of hers. In a show of her usual generous and charming spirit, Peabody has invited fellow food bloggers to attend a virtual housewarming of sorts. Now, how could anyone resist such an invitation? I decided to attend.
25 November 2007
I thought and thought, wanting to bring something personal to the potluck. Something that represented me and my background. Also it would need to travel well (potluck is potluck, after all, even if it is a virtual one). What I decided on was the uniquely Wisconsin treat known as kringle.
In Danish, the word kringle refers to cookies and tea cakes made with butter. In the Wisconsin town of Racine, a large concentration of Danish settlers instead used this term to refer to a pastry made of layers of dough and butter glazed with brown sugar and cinnamon, a filling of pecans or fruits, and sugar icing. It was an oval ring in shape when baked, and was best consumed warm with a healthy slathering of butter. The results were quite popular. Today the Racine kringle is legendary and, to be authentic, should be only from this town in Wisconsin.
Racine kringle bakeries use a drawn-out method of layering the dough 3 dozen times (!) with butter, and also letting the dough sit for 3 days. I don't have the time or skills to do that, so I found this simpler method online. The result is similar and if you ask me, very close to the traditional kringle. I decided to change things up a bit, added 1/2 c. of dried blueberries to my filling (1 c. pecans) and some lemon zest, to bring out the fruit. It ended up being a very good combination.
So here's my dish, ready for the potluck. A favorite from a proudly born-and-bred Wisconsinite. And also, a self-admitted early bird (heh, only about 2 weeks ahead of deadline...). Congratulations on the new home, Peabody! Enjoy the kringle! One out of probably 100 desserts that will pop up at the party, knowing your crowd :)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 c.warm water (110 to 115 F)
1/2 c. cold butter
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. warm milk (110 to 115 F)
1 egg, beaten
Nut filling (recipe follows)
Glaze (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans or walnuts
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Using a pastry blender or two knives, in a large bowl, cut butter into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas. Add yeast mixture, sugar, warm milk, and egg; beat until smooth (dough will be very soft). Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but not more than 24 hours.
When ready to use, remove from refrigerator. Punch dough down and divide in half; return other half to refrigerator. On a well-floured board, working quickly before dough softens, roll into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle, approximately 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick (if dough gets too warm from handling, return to refrigerator).
Spread half of the prepared Nut Filling down the center of the rolled-out dough rectangle in a 2-inch strip. fold sides of dough over filling, overlapping 1 1/2 inches; pinch edges to seal. Shape into an oval; pinch ends together. Place seam side down on a large greased baking sheet. Repeat same process with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until double in size.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
Spread prepared Glaze over kringles. Sprinkle with chopped pecans or walnuts. Serve kringles warm or at room temperature.
To re-warm, preheat oven to 300 F. Slide a whole, uncut kringle onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cover loosely with a large piece of aluminum foil and heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove aluminum foil before slicing.
1 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
In a large bowl, combine pecans or walnuts, brown sugar, and butter.
1 c. powdered sugar
5 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, water, and vanilla.