An everyday Kringle recipe that is simple enough to make during the weekday but fancy enough for a Christmas Kringle or holiday dessert. Frozen puff pastry is a laminated dough just like Danish dough and is the perfect substitute for the home cook. A food processor makes the filling in under a minute. This is a one hour dessert that looks, smells and tastes authentic and of course, amazing.
What is Kringle?
Kringle is a traditional Danish pastry first introduced by Roman Catholic monks in the 13th century. They have evolved from the pretzel type of pastry into a variety of sweet, salty and sometimes fruit and almond filled pastries.
Danish immigrants introduced this pastry in Racine Wisconsin. This highly regarded pastry morphed into a circular shape and is mostly the filled pastry type.
Growing up, my parents would have called this a coffee cake.
Kringle is known by many names in Scandinavia. The Danes couldn’t keep this magnificent pastry a secret probably due to the fact they were on major trade routes with the rest of Northern Europe and the remaining Scandinavian countries.
Other names include:
- kringle, kringler (pl) – Denmark, Norway
- kringel, kringlid (pl) – Estonia
- kringla, kringlor (pl) – Sweden
- kringla, kringlur (pl) – Iceland
- rinkeli – Finland
- kringel – Germany
How kringle is made
The kringle is made by starting with a laminated dough, a dough that has been rolled out with a sheet of butter. This is then folded, rolled, folded, rolled several times. There is a lot of chilling in between as it is important to keep the butter chilled. Rolling out the dough warms the butter but it’s important to keep it chilled so in between each series of folding and rolling, it is necessary to chill the dough. This type of dough is used for making croissants. It is labor intensive but necessary to get the flakiness desired. Fortunately, you can find puff pastry sheets in your markets freezer section, which is a laminated dough. This means you can have laminated dough at home.
The kringle dough is rolled out into a rectangle shape and usually filled. It is then rolled, length-wise, and shaped as desired. If in Denmark, into a pretzel-like shape. If you are in Racine, Wisconsin, it will be in a circular shape.
The kringle became the state pastry of Wisconsin in 2013, most likely due to the heavy Dane influence from its immigrants.
How the kringle saved vienna from the Turks
At real bakeries, the bakers show up for work at about 2am. Did you know that? It still happens today, yup, while you are still dreaming of sugar plum fairies.
Well, in 1529 in Vienna, Austria, it was no different. While the bakers were busily baking bread, pastries and kringle, they were the first to observe the invading Ottoman Turks. The bakers alerted the town authorities and helped save Vienna.
The bakers guild in Denmark is the only bakers guild allowed to display the royal crown as a guild trademark. This is presumably as a token of appreciation for helping save the city of Vienna from the Ottomans. I don’t know why Viennas bakers guild isn’t allowed to use the royal crown. Do you know? Leave a comment, please do share.
Kringle for Christmas
Somewhere along the way, kringle became a Christmas dessert. I personally think desserts like these have become special occasion only desserts due to our modern economy dictating the need for two incomes to raise a family. With both parents working with young children at home, who has time or energy to make this labor-intensive traditional dessert?
As a result, I think a lot of traditional Sunday culinary fare became holiday-only treats. A little sad…
Hopefully this Everyday Kringle will become a regular staple treat for your lovely family. For a different version, enjoy this Cherry Kringle made with walnuts.
If you like this super easy dessert recipe, you may also like American Peach Cobbler. Just mix, dump and bake!
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