Shortcut Danish Pastry
Makes enough for 2 kringles.
Note: This dough must be prepared in advance. From “Midwest Made,” by Shauna Sever.
• 1 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 1 c. bread flour
• 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
• 2 tsp. instant yeast
• 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
• 1 c. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
• 1/3 c. cold whole milk
• 1 egg, cold
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt. Pulse several times to blend. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse 10 times, or until the butter chunks are broken down by about half.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Dump the flour mixture into that mixture. Use a flexible spatula to gently stir the dough until nearly all the flour is moistened. Use your hand to quickly knead the dough just a few times in the bowl to bring it all together into a shaggy mass. There will be lots of large chunks of butter still visible in the dough.
Line a work surface with plastic wrap. Turn the dough onto the plastic and pat into a rectangle. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a rough rectangle, 8 by 15 inches. Fold the rectangle into thirds toward the center, like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Roll it out again, 8 by 15 inches. Fold into thirds. (This completes 2 turns of the dough. It will look a bit knobbly and cracked at this stage, don’t worry.)
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling process twice more, until you’ve completed 6 turns in all. After the last round of chilling, shape and bake according to the recipe (see below), or wrap tightly in a double layer of clean plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Danish Almond Kringle
Makes 2 kringles.
Note: “My favorite kringle has an almond filling,” writes Shauna Sever in “Midwest Made. “But mix it up by using any store-bought jam, lemon curd or prepared fruit filling you like — you’ll need 1 cup of filling to make 2 pastries.”
For almond filling:
• 6 oz. almond paste, cut in small pieces
• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/4 c. powdered sugar
• 2 egg whites, well-beaten, divided
• 1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Pinch of fine sea salt
• 1 batch Shortcut Danish Pastry (see recipe)
• Flour for rolling dough
• 1 c. powdered sugar
• Pinch of fine sea salt
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
To prepare almond filling: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, combine almond paste and butter and mix until smooth. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg white (reserving the rest for brushing the dough), lemon juice and pinch of salt, and mix until smooth.
To prepare dough: Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half into a long, narrow rectangle of dough, 6 by 24 inches. Spread 1/2 cup of the filling in an even strip down the center of the dough. Fold in 1 side lengthwise, over the filling.
Using a pastry brush, slick the entire open border of dough with some of the remaining beaten egg white, on both the long end and the 2 short ends.
Fold the second long side over the first toward the center. Pinch and press the seam tightly, sinking your fingertips into the pastry, all along the seam to create a tight seal (without it, the filling with seep out). Remeasure the length of the dough — if it’s shrunken a bit, gently press to stretch it back out to at least 24 inches. Form the strip of dough into an oval. Insert 1 end of the pastry into the other by at least 1 1/2 inches, then tightly pinch and press the seam together. Flip the oval over, seam-side down, onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Repeat the filling and shaping with the second portion of dough. Allow the pastries to rise for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and position racks to upper and lower thirds of the oven. Brush the pastries all over with remaining beaten egg white. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.
As soon as the baking sheets come out of the oven and the pastries are piping hot, do something that seems a little crazy. Compress each pastry slightly by using the baking sheet with the other pastry on it — just set the pan on top of the pastry, and press gently to eliminate the air pocket between the pastry and filling. Allow the pastries to cool completely on the pans set over wire racks.
To prepare icing: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and pinch of salt. Whisk in the vanilla extract and just enough water, 1 teaspoon at a time (about 4), to form a smooth, opaque glaze — when you lift the whisk, it should easily form a fluid ribbon without breaking, but doesn’t drip in little droplets in a runny fashion (it’s often just a matter of a few extra drops of water from your fingertips to get the consistency just right, so don’t add too much water in the beginning). Using a small, flexible spatula, ice the kringles with icing. Let the icing set before slicing and serving.
Nutrition information per each of 24 servings (about 2 inches each):
Calories 196 Fat 12 g Sodium 100 mg
Carbohydrates 20 g Saturated fat 6 g Added sugars 11 g
Protein 3 g Cholesterol 35 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ starch, 1 carb, 2 ½ fat.