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Pecan Kringle
December/January 2010

Traditional Pecan Kringle recipes require bakers to fold the dough dozens of times, stopping repeatedly to allow it to chill and relax. But we wondered whether the three-day marathon was really necessary, or if some of it was overkill. We eliminated this time-consuming step by cutting cubes of cold butter into the dry ingredients before forming the dough. We found that sour cream created a flaky texture by weakening the dough’s gluten structure, but, when combined with the already present butter, it made for a greasy pastry. We solved this by removing some of the butter. To keep the pastry tender, we then replaced a bit of the remaining butter with vegetable shortening.

Makes 2 kringles, each serving 8

To bake only one kringle, adjust the oven rack to the middle position. If the dough appears shaggy and dry after adding the sour cream in step 2, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water until the dough is smooth. If the capacity of your food processor is less than 11 cups, pulse the butter and shortening into the dry mixture in two batches at the beginning of step 2.

3/4cup packed light brown sugar
1cup pecans, toasted
1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8teaspoon salt
4tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
4cups all-purpose flour
2tablespoons confectioners” sugar
1envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
3/4teaspoon salt
16tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
4tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2cups sour cream
1large egg, lightly beaten
1cup confectioners” sugar
2tablespoons whole or low-fat milk
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
1. MAKE FILLING Process sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to bowl.

2. MIX DOUGH Add flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and shortening to empty food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to bowl and stir in sour cream until dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide in half. Pat each half into 7- by 3-inch rectangle and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, then freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

3. ROLL DOUGH Following photos, roll one dough half into 28- by 5-inch rectangle, cover bottom half of strip with half of filling, fold dough over filling, and pinch seams closed. Shape into oval, tuck one end inside of other, and pinch to seal. Transfer to parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 or up to 12 hours. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

4. BAKE KRINGLE Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Discard plastic, brush kringles with egg, and bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer kringles to wire rack and cool 30 minutes.

5. MAKE GLAZE Whisk sugar, milk, and vanilla in bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over kringles. Let glaze set 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Kringle can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.)

Working with one piece of chilled dough at a time, follow these steps to roll and shape the kringle.

1. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 28- by 5-inch strip with one long side closest to you. The dough will be about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Leaving a 1/2-inch border around the bottom and side edges, spread half of the filling over the bottom half of the dough.

3. Brush the edge of the uncovered dough with water and fold the dough over the filling, pinching to close the long seam.

4. Fit one end of the folded dough inside the other to make an oval and press together the seal.


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