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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Danish Kringle

There probably are few sweets more appropriately named for the holidays than Kringle. After all, Kris Kringle is supposedly the name of Santa Claus. This Kringle, however, comes to us via Denmark and Scandinavia where it has been an important sweet for centuries.

Usually made into either a horseshoe, ring, or pretzel like shape, Kringle can either be made of puff pastry or a sweet yeast dough. It is then filled with all sorts of good ingredients from marzipan and raisins, to almonds, to this slightly "southernfied" version that features pecans.

In reality a Kringle is a type of coffee cake and makes a great treat for holiday breakfasts. Glazed with a vanilla glaze and sprinkled with more pecans, this ranks right up there with great breakfast holiday fare.

These really aren't that hard to make and I found that by my second one my technique for rolling and shaping the Kringle had improved dramatically. A couple more and I should be ready to present these as nice gifts for the holidays!

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk, scalded then cooled
1 egg
Pecan filling (recipe follows)
Glaze (recipe follows)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 egg white

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix together butter with flour, salt and sugar on medium speed until mixture resembled fine meal. (Note: If you do not have a stand mixer, this is best accomplished using a pastry cutter.)

Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir into flour mixture with milk and egg. Beat until a smooth dough forms. Dough will be very loose.

Transfer dough to lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 2 hours but no more than 24 hours.

Prepare filling (see below).

Grease two baking sheets and set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into halves. Place second half back in refrigerator. On a floured cloth using a cloth covered and floured rolling pin (French pins work best for this)- roll out dough into a 6x15 inch rectangle. Sprinkle a 2-inch wide ribbon of filling in center of dough, leaving clean ends. Fold long edge of dough over center of filling and brush lightly with water to help create a seal. Fold other edge over center to create about 1/2-inch to 1-inch overlap. Press down edges to make a secure seam. Brush exposed ends of dough lightly with water and fold over to create a seal.

Carefully transfer dough to one of the prepared baking sheets and place seam side down. Carefully shape dough into horseshoe or oval ring. Repeat with second half of dough.

Cover both doughs with a towel and place in a warm area to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush dough lightly with egg white and 1 tbs. water mixed together.

Bake Kringle for 10 minutes then alternate baking sheets and bake an addition 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Glaze with vanilla glaze and sprinkle Kringles with 1/2 cup chopped pecan.

Pecan Filling

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until pecans are coated with sugar and butter.

Vanilla Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs. warm water (more if necessary)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. rum extract (optional)

Mix together all ingredients until it forms a smooth and spreadable glaze. Add more water if necessary to get desired consistency.

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