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Almond-scented kringle fortifies you on cold days


Kringle, the almond-scented Swedish pastry, evokes cold mornings, warm fires and special occasions. Like the SAT.

Back when college testing was a morning’s lark, not a yearlong slog, our friends crammed into one car for the outing. When we picked up Sarah, her mom offered a platter of kringle.

Crisp bottom, flaky middle, sticky top, it made excellent test preparation. Mrs. Richardson, erudite librarian, applied her icing parsimoniously — a word we would encounter later on the vocab section. Her solicitude, however, was abundant.

———

SWEDISH KRINGLE

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 45 minutes

Makes: 24 slices

Pastry A:

1 cup flour

1 pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut up

2 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold water

Pastry B:

4 ounces almond paste

1 cup water

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut up

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

Icing:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream

2 tablespoons toasted almond slices

1. Pulse: To make Pastry A, drop flour, salt and butter into the food processor. Pulse several times, until crumbly. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons water; pulse until clumpy.

2. Flatten: Turn out pastry clumps onto a sheet of parchment paper. Divide in half and shape into 2 logs. Roll or pat each log into a thin rectangle, each about 14 inches long and 4 1/2 inches wide. Slide parchment onto a baking sheet.

3. Soften: To make Pastry B, swirl almond paste in the food processor 1 minute. Set aside.

4. Boil: In medium saucepan, heat water and butter to an energetic boil. Pull pan off heat. Immediately drop in flour. Use an electric mixer to beat smooth. Beat in almond paste, then eggs — one at a time — then extract.

5. Bake: Spread half of Pastry B over one rectangle of Pastry A, completely covering A. Repeat with second rectangle. Bake at 350 degrees until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Cool completely.

6. Ice: To make icing, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter and both extracts together, using an electric mixer. Add enough of the milk or cream to achieve a spreadable icing. Spread half the icing over each cooled kringle. Sprinkle on almonds. Slice crosswise on the diagonal into 1-inch thick strips. Enjoy.

Provenance: I added the almond paste; otherwise this recipe is faithful to the one I got from my friend Sarah Richardson, who got it from her mom, Margaret Richardson, who got it from her mom, Dr. Lois Irwin Richardson, who got it from her friend Sue Nordin. Sue was Swedish.


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