A Brief History of the Kringle

The kringle. . . is a butter-layered pastry, introduced to the States in the late 1800s by immigrant Danish bakers. In Denmark, the kringle is traditionally pretzel shaped. In America, it is oval shaped, with a fruit or nut filling.

I was first introduced to kringle by my Uncle Terry when I was a young girl. It was love at first taste. I'd never had a pastry so light and flaky and yet rich and satisfying, too. Whenever my uncle came to visit from Racine, Wisconsin (home of the kringle), he'd be carrying a wrapped kringle in his hands. Almond was my favorite flavor, but apple came in a close second. For me, kringle was inevitably tied to warm memories of family and spirited conversation around our long dining room table.

Since then I've learned to bake kringle (recipe included in the back of the book!), but it's not for the faint of heart. In fact, the first time I made it, my arm muscles ached the next day from all the rolling of layers of dough. I'm much better at ordering kringle, easily available on line from Bendtsen's Bakery in Wisconsin at https://bendtsensbakery.com/.
There is an old folktale about kringle that makes me smile whenever I think of it. It goes something like this:
"Lars, an old man on his deathbed, said to his wife, 'Get me some kringle before I die. That way I can go to heaven a happy man.' His wife turned to him and said, 'Sorry, honey, but we're saving it for your funeral!"

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