Excerpted from COOK’S COUNTRY EATS LOCAL: 150 Regional Recipes You Should Be Making No Matter Where You Live. Copyright 2015 by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen.
Makes: 2 | Serves: 16
For the filling:
1 cup pecans, toasted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
For the dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
1–2 tablespoons ice water (optional)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons whole or low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING: Process pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground, about 5 seconds. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 9 pulses. Transfer to bowl.
FOR THE DOUGH: Add flour, butter, shortening, sugar, yeast and salt to now-empty food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 15 to 20 pulses. Transfer to bowl and stir in sour cream until dough forms. (If dough appears shaggy and dry, stir in up to 2 tablespoons ice water as needed.) Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and divide in half. Pat each piece of dough into 7 by 3-inch rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, then freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
LINE 2 RIMMED BAKING SHEETS with parchment paper. Roll 1 piece of dough into 28 by 5-inch rectangle on lightly floured counter, about ¼-inch thick. Leaving ½-inch border around bottom and side edges, cover bottom half of strip with half of filling. Brush edge of uncovered dough with water, fold dough over filling, and pinch seams closed. Shape folded dough into oval, tuck 1 end inside other, and pinch to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Transfer to prepared sheets, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
ADJUST OVEN RACKS to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic, brush kringles with egg, and bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer kringles to wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
FOR THE GLAZE: Whisk sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over kringles and let set for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Kringles can be stored at room temperature for 2 days.)
Why This Recipe Works
Wisconsin’s prized beers and dairy are no secret, but in the city of Racine, kringle–a buttery, flaky, oval-shaped Danish pastry–is king. There, bakers follow traditional kringle-making to the letter, spending three days folding, refolding, chilling, and relaxing the delicate dough. We wondered if we could shorten this process. A dough of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, shortening, and sour cream was just the ticket–the shortening created tenderness, and the sour cream’s acidity weakened the dough’s gluten for a flaky texture. We rolled the dough into a rectangle, wrapped it, and refrigerated it for only 30 minutes before the real kringle construction began. After rolling out the chilled dough, we spread a buttery filling of pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon (easily made in the food processor) along the bottom half of the dough. We folded the strip in half, sealing in the filling, and then we tucked one end of the strip into the other, forming an oval. Rather than wait overnight to bake, we found that 4 hours was just enough chilling time. With hours (if not days) to spare, our kringle baked to a beautifully flaky golden brown, making it a pastry we couldn’t wait to share. —The Editors at American’s Test Kitchennull