Wisconsin’s official state pastry, the Danish Kringle, is a lovely little almond pastry that is perfect for slicing and sharing with friends over a cup of coffee or tea. It may not look like an authentic Kringle, but it tastes just like it, and it’s easy to make at home while still wearing your slippers.
What is hygge, anyways? Pronounced “HOO-guh,” it’s the Danish concept of coziness–a warm atmosphere, the enjoyment of life, and a feeling of general contentment.
One of the best ways to experience that warm and fuzzy feeling is by baking this gorgeous almond pastry. Take it from the Danes–they’ve been making it for generations. They’re experts at enjoying life.
Even though this version is not authentic in appearance (it’s not shaped like a giant, edible wreath) nor in technique (there is no yeast) it’s probably going to become your go-to for coffee get-togethers, parties, and book clubs.
What is a Danish Kringle?
Kringle is a popular Danish pastry often filled with fruits, nuts, jams, or chocolate. In the United States, Kringle took root in a city just south of Milwaukee: Racine.
It became even more popular once Trader Joes started selling O&H Bakery’s famous Kringle. If you’re lucky enough to have grabbed one before they sold out, you already know how good they are.
How is this recipe different than a traditional Kringle?
First of all, it’s easier and faster to make because it’s not a yeast dough, which requires time to rise, etc. Yeast Kringle are usually saved for special occasions, like Christmas. But this one can be made anytime.
Also, this Kringle recipe isn’t technically filled with anything, like store-bought Kringle. The top layer of flake pastry is a sweetened pâte-à-choux, a special kind of pastry dough that fluffs up as it bakes. Almond extract gives the dough its wonderful flavor.
Finally, the taste is incredible. You’ll never miss the real one. Homemade pastry is almost always far better than what you get in a store, and the ones you love will appreciate it, too.
Classic Kringle are shaped into an oval. However, this recipe yields two rectangle-shaped Kringle, which should fit on a single baking sheet. Eat one, share one, or devour them both.
- First, make the crust. It’s not hard, sort of like making pie crust. Using a knife or a pastry blender, “cut” the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about the size of peas.
- Sprinkle on the ice water and gently stir the water into the dough with a fork. You should have a soft dough.
- Next, cut the dough into two equal pieces. Take each piece and form it by hand into a 3-inch by 12-inch strip.
- Place the two strips of dough side-by-side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them some space, though, because they get flattened and will spread out.
- Then press each strip flat, using the back of a measuring cup or a small rolling pin. Flatten the dough until each piece is about 1/4″ thick.
- Meanwhile, to make the “filling” layer, combine the butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Next, add the eggs one at a time, whisking in between each egg.
- Finally, add the almond extract.
- Next, spread or pipe the sweet almond dough on top of each piece of dough. (This “filling” will bake up gorgeously golden brown and puffy on top of the crust.)
- Bake the Kringle at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the Kringle to cool for at least one hour before frosting.
Making the Kringle icing:
We’re almost there! This icing is amazing drizzled over the baked Kringle. Top with some toasted, slivered almonds, and you got yourself one heck of a dessert!
- In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, butter, almond extract, and most (but not all) of the milk. (Hold a tablespoon of the milk back, in case you need to adjust the consistency.)
- Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining milk and whisk. It should be drizzle-able.
- Drizzle the frosting directly over the baked and cooled Kringles, then decorate with sprinkles or sliced toasted almonds.
Other Kringle ideas:
Sometimes you have to play around with flavors. Here are some good ideas.
- Orange. Switch up the almond extract for another flavor, like orange extract, and add some orange zest and a little juice to the icing.
- Chocolate. Instead of icing, make an easy Chocolate Glaze to drizzle over the Kringle. (Better stand back, though!)
- Coconut. Coconut extract might be a fun way to flavor a Kringle. If you try it, write about how it went in the comments.
Where is Danish Kringle near me?
Other than making them yourself, try Trader Joe’s–sometimes they stock them.
If you wind up in Racine, Wisconsin, the most famous bakery is O&H Bakery. Stop in or order their delicious Kringle online anytime!
For the crust layer:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter cold
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling layer:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Sprinkles or sliced almonds, for decorating, optional
To make the crust layer:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Cut butter into small pieces. In a medium bowl, combine flour and cold butter pieces. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut into dough until pea-sized crumbs form. Sprinkle with ice water, then stir with a fork until soft dough forms.
- Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a thin 3-inch x 12-inch strip. Using the back of a measuring cup, press on to prepared baking sheet (each strip should be about 1/4-inch thick).
To make the filling layer:
- In a medium saucepan, combine water and butter; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Stir in almond extract.
- Divide the filling between the two crusts, spreading or piping to 3/4-inch from the edge of the crust. Bake until golden brown and puffy, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely, at least 1 hour. The filling layer will shrink and fall as the Kringle cools.
To make the icing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, butter, and almond extract until smooth. If the icing seems too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth enough to drizzle.
- Drizzle each Kringle with icing. Top with sprinkles or sliced almonds if desired.