For much of the continental US, the past few weeks have been a veritable maelstrom of unpleasant weather. Average snowstorms have turned to ice, chilly winter temperatures dropped to record-breaking, below-zero lows, and now, at least in central Pennsylvania, our notion of winter has been turned on its head as we enter into a weekend of almost 60 degree (F) temperatures, perpetual fog, and pounding rain. So, in an attempt to culinarily bring the household out of these spiraling gray doldrums, I thought unearthing a literal spiral of European pastry might do just the trick!
So, our treat for the weekend has been a modern, sweet and spicy variation of the centuries-old kringle (or kringel), first devised, according to legend, by 13th century monks as they brought Christianity to Nordic Europe. Since the 1200s, the kringle has come to represent a style of forming dough into twisted shapes using a variety of doughs, fillings, and toppings. One incarnation of the kringle that most of us will recognize is the classic, salted pretzel (or saltkringler), which we took a look at not too long ago. The pretzel-shaped version of the kringle has long been a symbol of Danish baking, and acts as the logo for baking guilds across Europe. But, as we’ll see today, the kringle does not have to be savory, as a wide range of sweet kringles, typically speckled with raisins, nuts and coarse sugar, exist across the globe. The kringle has even become a sweet staple of Wisconsin in the United States, as 19th century Danish immigrants brought a filled version of the kringle to America. So, wherever you’re from, and whatever ingredients you have on hand, you’re more than welcome to experiment with and enjoy the twisted form of the kringle!
Twisted Cinnamon Kringle Recipe
Ingredients for Pastry
- 1/2 cup of warm milk or milk substitute (between 100 – 110 F / 37 – 43 C)
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast (or one packet)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg yolk
Ingredients for Filling
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- In a small container, mix the warm milk, yeast, and sugar together. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy.
- Pour the yeast mixture into a medium bowl and add in the flour, salt, 2 Tablespoons butter, and egg yolk. Stir until you form a rough dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-5 minutes, or until the dough easily forms a ball.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turn once to coat with oil, cover with a clean towel, and let sit in a warm spot for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
- Preheat your oven to 390 F (200 C), and combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Punch down your risen dough, return to a floured surface, and, using a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a thickness of 1 centimeter (1/3 of an inch).
- Brush the flattened dough with most of the melted butter (save some for a final glaze before baking), and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Tightly roll the dough and cut lengthwise with a sharp knife (see pictures 10-11 below).
- Twist the two halves of the dough together, and try to keep the layered sides of the dough facing outward (pictures 12-13 below). When the dough is completely twisted, join the two ends together to form a ring. Transfer to a greased baking sheet, and brush with whatever melted butter you have leftover. If you have any extra cinnamon sugar, feel free to add another dusting over the top of your kringel for an added layer of spice!
- Bake in your preheated oven for 5 – 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 355 F / 180 C, and continue baking for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, or until the kringel is golden brown.
- Enjoy this truly tasty, twisted treat from old-world Europe!
As always, thanks for stopping by the dig! Be sure to stop in next Tuesday for another international bread recipe!