Saturday, December 19, 2015

Helen's Danish Kringle


This post is a repeat of one I made on an old blog in 2008. I am re-posting it here because I love the story as well as the Kringle. The 7 year old photo is not the best, but if you try this I promise you will love not only the aroma white it is baking but also the tender goodness of this holiday treat.

I grew up in a small town in northeastern Oklahoma, and during the Christmas season neighbors that lived on our country road brought the best Christmas gifts to us. No one called before they came (and no one cared back in those days!), and there was much fuss and laughter when folks arrived (always at the back door) with their delicious pound cakes, old-fashioned fruitcake cookies, and divinity and fudge delivered on foil-lined box lids or doily-covered paper plates.

The back yard of the farm where I grew up

My home economics teacher Helen was one of our neighbors, and every year we looked forward to her unique Christmas offering - a slightly sweet yeast dough with a brown sugar and nut filling that she called Danish Kringle (a very exotic sounding name to us!). Helen's visit was the most anticipated of the year.

When Helen came, although we enjoyed her company we had to hide our impatience for her to leave, politely making small talk while trying not to drool from the enticing yeasty aroma emanating from her Kringle. Her car would barely be out of the driveway before we started cutting into the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of the still-warm pastry.

After I got married, I tried in vain to duplicate her recipe. Finally I wrote her asking (begging) for the recipe, and she graciously sent it to me. From that handwritten recipe, I have recreated this warm culinary Christmas memory every year. Here is her recipe as she wrote it, with my notes in italics.

Helen's Danish Kringle
2 cups sifted flour
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft shortening (part butter or margarine) (soft shortening is a mix of shortening and butter)
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 F)
1 pkg active dry yeast

Measure flour, sugar, salt and shortening/butter into bowl; blend well (I use a pastry cutter to blend). Cool milk slightly, then stir in egg yolk. Pour into bowl with first ingredients. Add yeast to warm water and let stand a few minutes. Add to all other ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl (it will be very soft). Cover tightly and chill 2 to not more than 48 hours in refrigerator.

Prepare fillings before shaping Kringles. Divide dough into two parts. Take out one and return other half to refrigerator. Beat egg white. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 6 inch X 18 inch rectangle. Spread 3" center stripe with half of beaten egg white, then carefully spread with half of filling. Fold over one side of dough and then the other with 1-1/2 inch lap to cover filling. Pinch dough to close the fold.

Pick up Kringle carefully (it is very tender) and arrange, seam-side down, on baking sheet (I use parchment paper on the baking sheets) in oval or horseshoe shape, pinching ends for the latter. Shape second Kringle as first. Cover and let rise in warm place 30-45 min, or until dent remains when finger is pressed gently on side of dough and dough is no longer cold. (Dough will not double.)

Bake in moderately hot oven (400 F) for 20-30 min or until golden brown. (There may be some seepage of the filling - when it comes out of the oven just scrape it back under the dough.)

Spread with powdered sugar icing while hot. (I blend powdered sugar with a tiny pinch of salt and thin it to pouring consistency with milk and vanilla.) Cut in wedges to serve. Makes about 2 dozen servings or 2 Kringles.

Fillings:
Pecan
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup finely chopped or ground nuts
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then sprinkle with nuts.

Apple Pecan (I have never tried this one)
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup finely chopped apples
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Sprinkle sugar, then apples and pecans

8 comments:

  1. Oh boy! I am copying this recipe to try! Sounds super delicious, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Linda,
    I love the text you are using on the banner at the top of your page-it's adorable.

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  3. Oh my gosh Bernie I didn't even think about your name. How fun! :) What a neat story. I hope you like this one as well.

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  4. I LOVE homey stories like this! I'm going to have to pin this recipe, but whether I make it or not is another story. I fear yeast dough that is not made in my bread machine. ;-)

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  5. This sounds so wonderful and looks pretty good in the photo! I love just about every dish made with pecans, so I'm going to try it out (assuming I'll have time after all the cooking and baking already on my list).

    My favorite on your post, though, is the photograph. It looks like a family-farm, country-life place to grow up.

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    1. Awwww Mary thanks for the comment about my old home. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I was very blessed. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. Looks very scrumptious, I might give it a go. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and I look forward to chatting in 2016

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    1. Oh I hope you do! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you too.

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