I am a Wisconsinite. Go ahead, laugh. As much as I understand why the cheddar and beer stereotype (and Favre’s latest exploits) have turned us into a national joke, you should all be secretly jealous. We have something you don’t: Kringle.
A circular pastry that originated in Denmark, the kringle is only common in its home country and in Racine, Wisconsin, thanks to waves of Danish immigrants in the 1880s who had enough sense to move to Wisconsin. Some of my favorite Saturday mornings were had over a cup of coffee and a cream cheese kringle.
Even grocery store kringle will blow your mind. The secret is in the Danish Weinerbrod dough, which layers like puff pastry sheets but remains soft instead of crisping in heat. Inside is usually fruit filling, and a light, sugary glaze similar to that of a donut coats the top. Strawberry and cherry fillings are most common, but you can also find almond, apricot, pecan, apple and cream cheese, in most places kringle is sold.
While you can often find smaller portions as pictured above, kringle is traditionally made in a loop shape. Cutting and serving it isn’t quite the art some make it out to be, unless you made it from scratch, in which case you have every reason to demand it be cut correctly. I recommend the version on the left-hand side for easier coffee-dunking.
I’ve never been ambitious enough to make my own kringle, but if you currently have an oven in your apartment (you’re one-upping me), give this pecan and walnut kringle recipe a try. For the cheaters: No matter what shape your store-bought kringle takes, pop it in the oven at 300 F for 15 minutes and toss the packaging. The pastry still has all the complicated layers only a Danish-style bakery can replicate, and all the heat and aroma of being fresh from the oven.
And you thought we were fat because of the cheddar.
–Tara for TKGO