Well, folks, this one is my bad. Had I done my research properly, I would've known that a real Danish kringle is shaped like a pretzel, and not what I've done here. What I did (which, admittedly, the recipe kind of lead me to believe was accurate) was the way we do it in the United States--where the kringle is long and rectangular (or oval). I got my recipe from Christian's Danish Recipes website (a goldmine of Danish recipes, by the way). I felt this recipe was authentic in the "it looks like someone's grandma wrote it, because the instructions are vague"-kind of way.
Now, I've had a love affair with kringle since childhood. Being that I'm from Milwaukee, we had easy access to Racine Danish Kringle (which, incidentally, managed to get a hold on "kringle.com"). Racine, WI has a rich Danish heritage, and prides itself on making one hell of a kringle. We would (and do) buy these dense, flaky, rich pastries for all major holiday breakfasts. Obviously, kringles are near and dear to my heart, and there was no other choice but to make them for my Denmark challenge.
Alas, American kringles (even 'authentic' Racine kringles) are not like Danish kringles, so the end result was nothing at all like I expected or wanted. Perhaps this is what non-puff-pastry kringles taste like in Denmark--sadly, I wouldn't know. This is more of a sweet yeast bread in American-kringle form. It's more like stollen. It's good...it's just not my idea of kringle. Perhaps someone whose had real Danish sukkerkringle from Denmark can clue me in.
Danish Kringle - Dansk Kringle
-4 cups flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup butter
-3 tablespoons sugar
-2 packages dry yeast
-1/4 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
-1 cup milk
-3 eggs and 1 egg white, beaten with a fork
-1 teaspoon cardamom
-Sugar, cinnamon, and slivered almonds to sprinkle
-**Note: The original recipe refers to "some filling," which I misread while grocery shopping and just assumed it was the sugar, cinnamon and almonds. Nope. SO, fortunately, I'd had the foresight to buy some fat-free cream cheese. I used that and rhubarb-strawberry jam in one, and cream cheese, brown sugar, and chopped walnuts in the other. Whatever kind of filling you want to concoct is entirely up to you.**
1. Blend flour, salt, butter and sugar, as for any crust. **Note: See what I mean about being vague? "Oh, you know, just do it like a crust." I chopped the butter into small pieces and blended it into the flour with two knives until a coarse meal formed (of course, if you have a pastry blender--which I don't--this would be a much easier task). Once you're sweaty and wrist-crampy from all the blending, gently mix in the sugar and salt.**
2. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. This is a lot of yeast for that amount of water, so stir until the lumps are gone.
3. Scald the milk (that is, heat it until bubbles form around the edge and it starts steaming--don't let it boil!), cool for a few minutes, and add to the beaten eggs. Stir. Add dissolved yeast, cardamom, and flour-butter mixture. Hand mix until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place or until doubled in bulk (about an hour).
4. Place the dough on a floured board, pat with the hands as though beating the dough. **Note: Okay. So, I knew while mixing the dough that this would be extraordinarily goopy and unmixable, unknead-able and un-pick-upable-as-a-mass-able. I flooped the dough out onto a heavily floured cutting board and hit the middle of the dough with my fist....and it looked like I had beige gak attached to me. I added about 1/4 - 1/2 cup more flour to make it easier to work with. Once the dough no longer stuck to me when I hit it and picked it up, I stopped adding flour.**
5. Divide dough in half and place on two well-greased baking sheets. Spread the dough out thinly with your fingers. Spread the middle with some filling. Bring up edges to the center and press together to seal. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and slivered almonds. **Note: The instruction about folding was also unclear to me. Which edges? Will this dough actually "press together"? So, I did it like a business envelope (again, emulating Racine kringles)--one side to the center, the other side over that one, trying my best to crimp those edges together. This dough, despite the extra flour was very thin and had to be moved to the center in stages. Be gentle!**
6. Bake 20 minutes in a oven preheated to 350, until golden-brown.
-Yield: Makes 2 loaves.