Butter-Pecan Kringle

Kringle looks like it should be REALLY hard to make. And it usually is, which is why most folks buy their kringle from one of the Wisconsin bakeries that specialize in this tender, layered, buttery Danish pastry. But our version of kringle is so easy a 10-year-old could make it. And while it's not made in the traditional method, you'll find it just as tender and tasty as the original.

Baking gluten-free? For great results, substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe; no other changes needed.
Prep
25 mins
Bake
50 to 55 mins
Total
1 hr 15 mins
Yield
one 13" kringle, about 2 dozen servings
Butter-Pecan Kringle

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet that's at least 18" x 13"; or a 14" round pizza pan.
  2. To make the base: Combine the butter, flour, and salt, mixing until crumbly. Add the water, and stir to make a soft, sticky dough.
  3. Wet your hands, pick up the dough, and shape it into a 12" x 8" oval ring on the sheet pan; or a 10" ring in the pizza pan. This will be messy going, but just keep wetting your fingers and pushing it into a ring. An easy way to approach this is to first divide the dough into four pieces; roll each piece into a 9" rope, then connect the ropes and shape them into a ring.
  4. Once you've made the ring, flatten the dough so it's about 1 1/2" wide; basically, it'll look like a train or NASCAR track.
  5. To make the pastry topping: Place the water, butter, and salt in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is boiling.
  6. Immediately add the flour, stirring with a spatula until the mixture is cohesive and starts to form a ball.
  7. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the flavor at the end, if you're using it.
  8. Spread the pastry along the ring, covering it completely; you'll now have a much wider ring, though it won't be completely closed in the center; it should still look like a ring.
  9. Bake the kringle for 50 to 60 minutes, until it's a deep golden brown. If you haven't yet toasted your pecans, this is a good opportunity to do so; they'll need about 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. When they're golden, remove them from the oven and cool. When the kringle is done, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely on the pan.
  10. To add the pecans and caramel: First, have the pecans all ready beside the pan of kringle; you'll be sprinkling them atop the caramel as soon as you pour it on.
  11. Place the caramel in a microwave-safe spouted cup, if you have one; it's not necessary, but makes it easier to pour. Melt the caramel until it's bubbly, remove it from the microwave, stir a few times to smooth out the bubbles, and immediately drizzle it over the kringle. If it stiffens up, reheat briefly in the microwave.
  12. Sprinkle pecans atop the caramel, pressing them in gently. Allow the kringle to cool completely.
  13. To make the glaze: Stir together the confectioners' sugar, salt, flavor (if you're using it), and enough milk or cream to make a pourable glaze. Drizzle it over the kringle.
  14. To serve, cut the kringle in 2" slices.
  15. Store at room temperature, lightly tented with plastic wrap, for a day or so; freeze for longer storage. Kringle is best served the same day it's made. If you plan on serving it the next day, add the caramel, nuts, and glaze just before serving.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to get a head start? Bake the base pastry up to two days ahead, then cool, wrap, and store at room temperature. Top with filling and icing just before serving.
  • Want a change from caramel? Top the kringle with your favorite combination of filling and icing: raspberry jam and lemon icing, for instance.