Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gerry's Kringle

Today, making kringles is a team effort at Tree-Top Baking, with Gerry and Larry taking turns mixing, laminating, shaping, etc. but back in the days when the bakery was just starting and Larry still had a full-time job off-island, Gerry made the kringles all by himself, week after week, the staccato beat of his big rolling pin on rock-hard butter his only company and thoughts of happy customers flocking to the market his lone motivation.
I have been captivated by Gerry's Danish kringle from the first time I saw and tasted it. Not only is it picture-perfect and melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious, the delicate pastry a crunchy accompaniment to the sweet duo of flavors inside: almond cream and tangy raisins, my favorites! But it also evoked achingly dear memories of long gone family members: my beloved mother-in-law was half-Danish half-Russian and when we were in Denmark not a birthday or holiday went by without a festive kringle bedecked with tiny paper Danish flags.
In between these kringles of long ago and Gerry's there had been none. So when I took that first bite, the layers of reminiscence were almost as delectable as the layers of flaky dough.
Of course I asked Gerry if he would teach me how to make a kringle and he agreed. He and Larry now own a sheeter, so they don't laminate their dough by hand anymore but he said he would make an exception for the occasion and show me how it could be done at home (see video below).
I arrived at the bakery at the appointed date and time. Remember how glorious the day was when I took the ferry over to see Larry make his sprouted spelt bread? Well, on that winter day it was nothing like it. The sky was streaked with grey and the sea opaque.
At the bakery, the welcome was just as warm as last time although the bakers were busy making not only two dozen other kringles but panettone and stollen. The radio was piping soft holiday music. Christmas was definitely in the air...

Stollen proofing

Panettone cooling

Cookie waiting to be boxed
Gerry started on the kringle...

Even though he was only making one kringle for us today, Gerry mixed enough dough for four. He says otherwise the dough tends to climb up the hook and generally drive the baker crazy. It is easy enough to shape and bake two kringles and to store the other half of the dough in the freezer for the next batch. The filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer forever.

Ingredients (for four kringles) For the dough
  • 580 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 232 g water
  • 35 g sugar
  • 9 g salt
  • 87 g eggs
  • 10 g instant dry yeast
  • 29 g butter
For the lamination
  • 450 g butter
For the filling (120 g per kringle x 4)
  • 141 g almond paste
  • 170 g sugar, granulated
  • 141 g butter
  • 283 g flour
  • 11 g salt
  • 23 g vanilla extract
  • 160 g raisins, to be sprinkled on the filling (40 g per kringle)
For the topping
  • 120 g sliced almonds (30 g per kringle)
  • 120 g sparkling white sugar (the shiny type that doesn't melt) (30 g per kringle)

Method (Because of its stiffness, this dough is machine-mixed)

Desired dough temperature: 77 to 80 °F/25 to 27°C
  1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the mixer (holding back some of the water) and mix for three minutes on first speed until incorporated
  2. Mix six to eight minutes on second speed until fully developed
  3. Let rest for one hour at room temperature, then place on a lightly floured sheet pan and put in the freezer for at least one hour covered with a plastic
  4. Meanwhile laminate the butter to plasticize it and put it in the refrigerator (you want to have the dough and the butter at the same temperature but dough cools down much slower than butter. You want to put it in the freezer to speed up the process. Another method would be to mix the dough ahead of time and freeze it, then take it out the evening before baking, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and proceed with the laminating in the morning. Gerry stresses that anytime you defrost dough, you have to go really slowly,  otherwise the outside ferments while the center remains frozen)
  5. Prepare the almond filling: put almond paste in the mixer and gradually add room temperature butter until smooth; then (and only then) add the remaining ingredients and cream until fluffy (the almond filling can be made ahead of time and frozen
  6. Roll in the butter and give the dough three 3-way folds (allowing the dough to rest in the fridge for 45 minutes between each fold)
  7. Scale the dough at 341 g, roll out to 6 x 32 inches
  8. Paint edges of the dough with water
  9. Put a long strip of filling in the center (note that the filling needs to be at room temperature when you pipe or spread it. Otherwise the dough will rip)
  10. Sprinkle with raisins, fold shut
  11. Shape and proof at 85 to 90°F/29 to 32°C for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on how cold the dough was
  12. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and sparkling white sugar
  13. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°/204°C (no steam) then for 14 minutes at 350°F/177°C
  14. Cool on a rack
  15. Enjoy!
When I left the bakery with my beautiful kringle, the sky was still light...
But when I got to the ferry, darkness was swallowing up the clouds and the sea was choppy... The crossing is so short though that I barely noticed it.
All I know is that another layer of happy memories was added to the kringle... Thank you, Gerry!

The kringle is going to Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting.


  1. Your photography is so professional, I wish I could take a class from you! Yummy looking Kringle! Thanks for the formula and story. I am sure you had a wonderful day!

  2. thanks for the formula, it's amazing...c'est magnifique!...
    one question about the filling, the ingredients are:
    141 g almond paste
    170 g sugar, granulated
    141 g butter
    283 g flour
    11 g salt
    23 g vanilla extract
    160 g raisins,

    but in the Method you say: " put almond paste in the mixer and gradually add room temperature butter until smooth; then (and only then) add the remaining ingredients and cream until fluffy" ....that Cream, which has weight? or cream is the 283gr of flour?
    Merci beaucoup!



Blog Designed by: Deanna @ Design Chicky