Sunday, February 20, 2005

Kringle Follow Up Follow-Up

I realized that after I wrote this, I just kinda assumed everyone would know what a Racine kringle is, but for those who do not, I add the following notes:

It seems that in the early 20th century a pack of Danes (shall we call them Great Danes?) picked themselves up and moved to Racine Wisconsin, a minor industrial town somewhere between Chicago and Milwaukee. And if Milwaukee is mostly Chicago frozen than I suppose Racine is a stunted version of Milwaukee. Anyways, the Danes kinda peaked in Racine when Frank Lloyd Wright designed (perhaps) the greatest commercial building ever. The Johnson Wax HQ. And the Dane's opened bakeries, including Bendsten's selling various pastries. Somehow, however, they settled as their calling card, their collective speciality, their gift to their new world word, the kringle.

I believe, but am not positive, that in Denmark, the kringle is a holiday pastry, a buche noel, a pannetone, a figgy pudding. In Racine, it is the raison d'etre for visiting the town (well that at the Johnson Wax buidling). It is an oval pastry, about the shape of a miniture Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It can be filled or just garnished with nuts. In fact, pecans are considered the classic kringle decor, and in nod to real agriculture that warms my little sustainable heart, the kringleries in Racine right now either are not selling pecan kringles or selling them at an up-charge 'cause of an apparant pecan shortage. Besides being oval, the other distinguising visual feature of a kringle, especially compared to normal coffee cake is its flatness. As I noted above, the flatness comes from packing a thousand layer of flavor into something less than an inch.