Kringle. The word means pretzel in Danish and is the name of this specific pastry. It has a fluffy dough with lots of butter, eggs, it’s filled with remonce, which is made from sugar, butter and marzipan, sprinkled with pearl sugar and hazelnuts which turn crispy in the oven. It’s pure pastry genius. I’ve made a scientific test and I can now bring you the recipe for the worlds best authentic danish pastry.
Some weeks ago I had a discussion with my friend Kirstine. She told me that authentic danish pastry is made with margarine. She’d actually tried with butter and it tasted better with margarine. I was, like, “What?”
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Fear of saturated fat
I’ve grown up in the 70’s and 80’s where people were afraid of fat. Margarine was a staple in our home, since then I’ve made up my own mind. I’d rather eat butter, which tastes awesome. Butter is not nearly as dangerous as previously though.
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s where you were told that saturated fat was the dietary devil. After I’ve become an adult, I’ve decided to eat butter, since it tastes so much better. Also, it seems that it’s not nearly as bad for you as previously though.
Newer studies seem to suggest that simple carbohydrates are much worse than any kind of fat. The thought was that “whatever you put in your belly, you will get in your body” . That was also the reason that eggs were supposed to be bad for you, because they are high on cholesterol.
I just had to test it
So I decided that I would test whether or not margarine really could be better in authentic danish pastry. So it had to at least be a bit scientific, so I would do it as a blind test. My colleagues at work would have to volunteer to be tested on. Poor them, huh?
My hypothesis was that butter would taste better than margarine, but no matter what I’d publish the winning recipe on my blog.
I also decided that the filling would be made in the same way, so we’d only be testing the composition of the dough. That means the remonce (filling) in the pastry would be made with butter in both versions.
I used my Sunday afternoon on baking 4 pastries (these were just the straight ones instead of the pretzel shaped one). Two with margarine and two with a good Danish butter. I labeled the bags so I wouldn’t get them mixed up.
Monday was pastry test day
Monday morning I packed the pastry in a bag and left for work. After I got to work I made some labels identifying them as #1 and #2 and ballots. I went to our office supply cupboard and grabbed 10 pens so that people wouldn’t have to stand it line to vote for their favorite.
Time to write a mail. First I invited my own team and the rest of the second floor. I did a quick round and it seemed like a lot of people were on vacation, so I just changed the list to the entire company:
Time for the test
At 2 o’clock it was time for the test. I spent around fifteen minutes setting up. At first there were only a people of people, but after just a few minutes more the kitchen was filled with people.
All in all 28 people came by to taste and vote. In general people liked both of the pastries. People spent a good amount of time tasting before they’d fill out the ballot.
After everybody had left and the last piece of pastry was eaten, I grabbed all the ballots and tallied. I put each vote in their own pile, and after not too long I could see where it was headed.
17 votes against 11 votes.
Margarine was the winner. That was the opposite of what I had expected, so I sat down with my reserved pieces of pastry and did my own test.
The pastry with the margarine has a very fluffy crumb. The one with butter was more dense, bordering on robust.
The taste of the one made with margarine was fine, no margarine taste at all. The pastry made with butter had a distinct taste of butter, which I really liked.
Authentic Danish pastry recipe?
I compared the recipe I got from my friend to a famous one called “Denmark’s best kringle” and I could see that they were quite similar.
In my Danish article about this pastry, I decided to call it “The world’s best kringle”, but since nobody knows that word in other countries, this recipe is authentic danish pastry, because that is what it is.
Try it. You will be so happy you did.
Please share on social media
This is my recipe for authentic Danish pastry. I hope you will try it. If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see your creations. That will make me happy.
Authentic Danish Pastry
- 2 dl lukewarm water
- 300 gram margarine
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 egg
- 450 gram all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 50 gram chopped hazelnuts
- pearl sugar
- Add water, yeast, margarine cut into ½ inch cubes, egg, sugar and salt to a bowl. Cover with a dish towel and leave on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes
- Add flour and mix it together
- Flour your work space liberally, knead the dough thoroughly, add as much flour as needed so that you have a nice cohesive dough, slightly sticky
- Put back in the bowl. Cover with a dish towel and let is proof for one hour
- Put butter, brown sugar, marzipan and cardamom into a bowl. Massage it with your fingers until it is completely combined
- Flour the work space extra liberally. You don’t want the dough to stick to the table. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and roll it to about 1 meter x 12 cm, 3 feet by 5 inches
- Put the filling in the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle raisins over top and close the pastry at the ends
- Fold the upper flap of the dough down over the filling.
- Crack an egg into a bowl and beat it thoroughly. Brush the lower part of the dough.
- Fold the lower part of the dough over the filling. Tap it with the palm of your hand to seal it.
- Move the dough to two different sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
- Shape each of the dough pieces into a pretzel.
- Turn on your oven to 220°C/430°F and leave to rise for 30 minutes under a cloth or cling film
- Brush the pretzels with beaten egg. Sprinkle with pearl sugar and chopped hazelnuts
- Bake them separately.
- Bake for 5 minutes then turn down to 180°C/350°F and bake for 10 minutes more. Watch it and take it out if it gets too brown
- Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
I am crazy about food, cakes, snacks and everything in between. I love to do tons of experiments to find the best recipe, so that you don’t have to.