I was walking through Trader Joe’s the other week and saw a flat package wrapped in opaque wax paper labeled “Almond Kringle. From Wisconsin! Limited Quantities available!” You may know that I love almond everything. Side story: I love the almond soap they have on Amtrak trains. A lot. So much that I tweeted once about how much I love it and where could I find some? And Amtrak tweeted back to me, and I ended up getting a bottle of soap that doesn’t have a flat bottom (it screws in to the train) so I can’t use it unless I empty the soap into another container. And it was great.
— Yen Duong (@yenergy) June 1, 2014
Also, I’m from Minnesota, so if I run into something in Texas that says “from the midwest!” I’ll buy it (also I am a sucker). And “Limited quantities available,” because I am a sucker, means that I’ll buy it. All the ingredients were in place for me to get this magical, amazing delicious experience (I’m not the only one who feels this way). After getting home and taking a bite of the oval shaped pastry that came out of the mystery bag, I laughed and couldn’t stop laughing for five minutes. My husband had a bite, and then we both texted all the people we knew from Wisconsin and told them that while we loved them, they are not the best thing to come from Wisconsin.
After we polished off our TJ’s Kringle in three days (it’s a bit over a pound, and contains at least one pound of butter), I decided to try to make my own. The official recipe will have you use just over a pound of butter and take three days to make all the layers. But there are plenty of homemade ones out there that do not take three days or tons of rolling, and that’s what I did. You can stuff kringles with anything, but the TJ’s one was filled with marzipan (yum) and I did a coconut and almond filling for mine. Many recipes were just butterscotch (butter + sugar).
I also was still in a bit of a funk when I decided to impulse make the kringle, so no ingredient photos. The dough and recipe is super simple, but this was my first time making a filled pastry so I did a bad job (who knew you have to actually close it all the way, or the filling all falls out?!)
The dough was just cutting butter into flour, then adding in yogurt (the recipe called for sour cream, but I use yogurt as a substitute for most white goops like mayo, sour cream, and sometimes butter/margarine/shortening). The dough is VERY STICKY.
Wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a while (all day is great, or overnight). Meanwhile you can put together the filling, which is another cup of butter beaten with brown sugar and shredded coconut and almond pieces. I put my coconut in a dry pan on the stove for a few minutes, until lightly brown and toasty. I also used sweetened shredded coconut, unsweetened flaked would also be fine.
Now you split the dough into two halves, and leave one in the fridge while you roll out the other on a very floured surface (remember, sticky) until very, very thin. Far thinner than expected for a person who’s never made a filled pastry before.
Filling goes in one long line down the middle. If you want to make two separate danishes, like lines, then stop before the ends so you can tuck down the top. I put my two halves together so spread the filling pretty far to the ends.
The recipe called for some fancy cutting and braiding, but didn’t have pictures. I attempted this on the first half and then all the filling went out through the holes. So, good luck to you if you decide to go the braided danish route- check for seals in your dough! Instead, I recommend just folding the two sides over and making a less beautiful but more structurally sound tube of dough.
See all the holes in my kringle above? Don’t do that. But do make two tubes and tuck them together to make the beautiful wreath shape of the kringle. Bake at 375 until golden brown and it smells SO GOOD and it’s SO GOOD. Even if it doesn’t turn out beautiful.
Easy coconut-almond kringle, adapted from Taste of Home
2 c flour
1 lb (4 sticks) butter
1 c full-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 c brown sugar
2 c sliced almonds
2 c shredded coconut, toasted
Cut 1 c (2 sticks) butter into the flour, until you have pea-sized chunks or smaller of butter. Mix in the yogurt well, until you have very sticky dough. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate all day or overnight or at least a few hours.
Beat the brown sugar with the remaining cup of butter. Toast the almonds and coconut by putting each in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring lightly a few times, until they smell yummy and look lightly brown/toasty. Mix the almonds and coconut (or whatever filling of nuts/fruits you want here) in with the butter and brown sugar mix.
Split the chilled dough into two halves. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough very thin into a rough rectangle, then put one half of the filling in one straight line down the middle of the dough. Either cut and braid the outsides in, or fold them over. Do so with both halves, then push the halves together into an oval shape on a baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned.