StateEats took a road trip this past week up to Racine, Wisconsin, self-proclaimed Kringle Capital of the World. What is kringle, you ask? Wisconsin’s state pastry (so designated in 2013) is oval shaped,
butter-layered, infused with various fillings and iced on top.
Originally made in Denmark and often served during the holidays, kringle is the town’s most famous product. Racine (sometimes called Little Copenhagen) is host to four separate bakeries that churn out this wonderful concoction all year round. We sadly didn’t have time to visit all four, so we focused on the biggest operation, O&H Danish Bakery.
Christian Olesen began O&H in 1949. Now in its fourth generation of bakers, O&H has five locations. It takes three days to make one
kringle, due to the fact that the dough must rest. Each O&H kringle is comprised of 36 layers.
And the flavors? Just take your pick because it is almost overwhelming with 30-something “everyday” flavors like pecan, blueberry, and cream cheese, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel, cranberry, or our choice, a Very Danish Christmas Kringle (pictured below) which is cherry/almond. Delish!
Kringle is very time consuming and difficult to make. We know because we tried and failed miserably, so we are not posting a recipe. But the good news is that you can order kringle from here and they will ship it right to your house. Enjoy and happy holidays!
Besides picking up kringle, if you visit Racine, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Headquarters, which is free and open to the public.
We’ve just returned from a glorious week in Glacier National Park. This jewel in the national park system is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At every turn, you are met with a stunning vista . . .
a gorgeous waterfall . . .
. . . or a majestic mountain.
And huckleberries. Mid-July to August is prime huck season. Stores and shops promote huckleberry flavored everything including ice cream, coffee, lemonade, chocolate and popcorn. They are a favorite of the black bear who roams these quarters and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear by the side of the road, munching away on this delectable treat (we were safe in our car, thank goodness).
This handpie recipe is a real winner. It combines the taste of a full-on
pie, with the ease of a handheld pastry. Don’t fret if you can’t find huckleberries — and you probably can’t unless you live in northwest Montana, they haven’t been successfully grown commercially — just use blueberries.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile road (in fact, one of the only roads) that takes you from one end of Glacier to the other. Open only in the summer and often maddingly jammed with traffic, this route offers breathtaking views and passes the highest point in the park, Logan Pass.
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup cold water
2 cups fresh huckleberries or blueberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
To make pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Add water and pulse until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic and place in refrigerator until chilled.
To make filling: In the meantime, make the filling. Place berries in a medium saucepan. Add cornstarch, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Heat on medium until mixture begins to simmer. Allow mixture to thicken, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Set aside to cool (mixture can be made a day ahead of time).
To assemble handpies: Roll the chilled dough into a 12” X 12” square. Cut out 16 squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on 8 of the squares. Place pastry on top and crimp edges with fork tines. Brush tops of handpies with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place each handpie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pie to allow steam to vent. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
We’ve talked before about how kuchen is South Dakota’s official state dessert, but you might not be aware the close runner-up were kolaches (koh-LAH-chees). This tasty pastry was brought to the
Mount Rushmore State from immigrating Czechs around the middle of the 19th century to the southern part of the state. In fact, tiny Tabor (population 413), holds Czech Days every year and kolaches are a huge draw.
Kolaches can be made with a variety of fillings including cream cheese, poppy seed, prune and even savory elements like sausage and cabbage. We tried our hand at apricot and cherry as we thought those were the real crowd pleasers and we were not disappointed. Great with a cup of coffee or tea, we found ourselves sneaking just one more . . . and then another.
If spelunking is your thing, check out Wind Cave National Park, located in the southern part of the Black Hills National Forest. With over 143 miles of winding passageways under only 1.2 square mile of surface area, and housing a unique cave formation known as boxwork, this cave system is not to be missed.
To make pastry: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¼ cup milk, sugar, yeast and ¼ cup flour. Let stand for 15 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy. Add remaining flour and milk, then butter, egg and lemon zest. Mix with a dough hook on low speed until a smooth dough is formed, about 4 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To make fillings: While you are waiting for the pastry to rise, make the fillings. For the apricot, in a small sauce pan, add orange juice and dried apricots. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until apricots are very soft. Remove from heat and add sugar. Let cool. Add to bowl of food processor, along with rum and process until well combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.
For the cherry filling, in a small saucepan add cherry juice, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat. Add cherries. Transfer to a clean bowl and put in fridge to allow to chill.
To assemble kolaches: Punch down dough. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape with hands into flattened balls. Place dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper approximately 1 inch apart. Cover with tea towels and let rise until puffed, about 35-45 minutes. With your fingers, make a deep indentation in the center of the ball leaving a generous lip so the filling does not ooze out. Drop mounded tablespoons of filling in the center of each pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Sniff around outside in the Green Mountain state from early late March to late April, and you’ll suddenly be struck with a craving for pancakes. That delicious smell is from sugarmakers who are
processing and boiling the sap of sugar maples to make Vermont’s most famous product, maple syrup. We’ve talked before here and here about how maple is the official state flavor (pretty cool to have one of those, right?).
This apple strudel recipe calls for maple syrup both in the filling and also in the glaze on top. Using puff pastry for the dough makes it super easy, too. If you don’t like pecans leave them out or add a ¼ cup of raisins to the filling if you are so inclined.
Check out the Maple Open House Weekend, March 25-26, 2017, when sugarhouses across the state of Vermont give tours, demos and samples.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry and roll out with a rolling pin until it is 12 by 12 inches. Peel the apples, core them, then slice thinly. Sprinkle with lemon juice so they do not brown. In a medium mixing bowl, add sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and ½ cup of pecans. Mix well. Add apples and stir until they are well coated. Place apple mixture on one half of the puff pastry. Fold over the other half and pinch the edges closed. Gently lift onto a parchment lined baking sheet and turn seam side down. Cut 3 vents in top of puff pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush top and sides with melted butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the glaze, in a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract (if glaze is too stiff, add a teaspoon of milk at a time to reach desired consistency). When strudel is cooled, add maple glaze, then sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped pecans.
Malasadas are the Hawaiian donut you never met but will instantly love. Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu has been making these sugary orbs of goodness since the 1950s. Originally a Portuguese
confection, these treats jumped two oceans as well as the vast expanse of North America when sugar cane and pineapple workers from Portugal immigrated to Hawaii. Created to celebrate Fat Tuesday, now you can find malasadas throughout the year and all over the Hawaiian Islands. If you are driving in Hawaii and see a food truck with a long line of people, pull a U-turn and check it out, they could be selling malasadas.
What makes malasadas different than donuts is the rich batter, fortified with eggs and half and half. The basic recipe we have used here from Leonard’s is plain sugar but on Hawaii you can find malasadas filled with all sorts of custards, including vanilla, chocolate and coconut. Super ono! Malasadas are a bit time consuming as they have to rise twice but if you make them, you will be the rock star of your household and neighborhood — if you dare give some away.
While in Hawaii, don’t miss the USS Arizona Memorial, including the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. This is one of the most heavily visited sites in Hawaii and is a very moving memorial to the sailors and service people who died there.
Combine yeast, one teaspoon sugar and two tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixture with the paddle attachment, beat eggs. Add yeast mixture, ½ cup sugar, butter, milk, half and half, and salt. Beat until combined. Add sifted flour gradually and mix until dough is smooth and elastic (it will be quite sticky). Transfer to a clean bowl coated with vegetable oil. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch square, so the dough is about ½ inch thick. Cut the dough into 12 3-inch squares (alternatively, you can make smaller, round malasadas by cutting the dough into 24 pieces). Place each dough piece on an individual square of parchment paper on two baking sheets at least 3 inches apart. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place again, for approximately one hour.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Place remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Working in batches, remove dough from parchment paper and drop gently into hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Toss in sugar when cool enough to handle. Serve while warm.
The parades! The parties! The food and drinks! Mardi Gras is in full swing down in New Orleans and will culminate on February 28, which is when Fat Tuesday falls this year. King Cake actually refers to the three kings who visited baby Jesus in his manger as the
season extends from Epiphany until the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. The French likely brought the King Cake tradition to New Orleans and it always includes inserting a plastic baby
or dried bean in the cake after it is baked. The person who receives the piece with the trinket is said to be blessed with good luck and must host the next Mardi Gras party or buy the King Cake for the next party.
There are literally dozens of variations of fillings for this cake including cinnamon, praline and strawberry. We opted for a cream cheese and apricot filling which is a family favorite. The cake is
usually decorated with icing or sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors which signify justice (purple), power (yellow) and faith (green). We can’t lie, this cake is time consuming to make. To break up the steps, feel free to make the dough the day before. Let rise and then put into the refrigerator. So worth the effort and waaaaay cheaper than a plane ticket to NOLA.
If you are lucky enough to live near New Orleans or plan to visit in the next week, check out the Mardi Gras parade schedule so you don’t miss a moment of the action.
In a small bowl, mix yeast with warm water. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon flour. Let sit until mixture begins to bubble. Meanwhile, heat milk in a medium saucepan until just boiling. Add butter and remaining sugar. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm. Add egg, egg yolk and yeast mixture. Beat with wire whisk until incorporated.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add liquid. Then add 1 cup flour. Beat using dough hook attachment until dough smooth. Add additional flour gradually and continue to beat until dough is elastic and glossy. Turn dough out into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let sit in warm place until dough has doubled in size, approximately 1.5 hours. Punch dough down and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Dough can be made day ahead and left in fridge overnight).
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla. If apricot filling is watery, drain in colander.
Shape cold dough into a log. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough until it is a rectangle shape, approximately 30 X 9 inches. Spoon the cream cheese mixture down the middle of the dough, longways, about 3 inches from the long edges but almost to the ends. Add the fruit filling right next to the strip of cream cheese. Mix the egg with the water to create an egg wash. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold one long edge over the filling, do the same with the other long edge. Turn seam side down onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently form into a circle, joining the ends together. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for approximately 30 minutes.
Brush cake with remaining egg wash. Cut several slits to allow heat to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
Mix confectioners’ sugar with milk and vanilla. Spoon over cake. Sprinkle cake with colored sugars. Before serving, insert baby or bean into bottom of cake.
Tomorrow is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day! Didn’t know it was a thing, did you? California is the top producer of strawberries in the U.S. with 2.3 billion pounds harvested in 2014. We don’t know
why they pair so well but the strawberry’s best friend is rhubarb, in all its celery-like simplicity. We decided instead of pie, we would make a rustic galette which is just a free form pastry, baked without a pie plate. We topped our galette with sliced almonds, another California product. In fact, California is the only state in the country that produces them. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have an easy dessert that will impress any guest.
Big Sur is a 90 mile stretch of gorgeous coastline from Carmel to San Simeon. Camping and hiking are the big draws, with several state parks along the route, but you can also shop, grab a bite to eat or climb the Point Sur Lighthouse.
For crust: Place all ingredients except water in food processor and blend until fine crumbs are formed. Add water a little at a time until the dough is moist and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use (can be made a day ahead). Roll out onto floured surface, adding a bit of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky. Lift the dough with a spatula and transfer carefully onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
For filling: In a large bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add cornstarch. Mound fruit mixture into center of dough. Fold sides of dough in, leaving about a 6 inch diameter in the center. Sprinkle with almonds. Brush milk over the outside of the crust. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or the filing is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
Even though it was battered by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Garden State is known for its beautiful shore. A favorite food from the boardwalks of Seaside or Wildwood is the delectable delight of sugar-coated fried dough known as zeppole. Also known as sfingi,
zeppole are associated with the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th, but they can be found year-round at family-run pizzerias, street fests and church festivals thanks to the state’s large Italian population. Many variations on the basic recipe exist: Some are filled or topped with a pastry cream; some are even savory with bits of chopped anchovy. We like the street fair version best, made with ricotta and dusted with powdered sugar.
Mix dry ingredients first, then add egg, ricotta and vanilla, mixing just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Batter should be sticky. In batches, drop by tablespoonful into oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain excess oil. While still hot, place into a paper bag with confectioners sugar, close bag and shake. Remove and serve warm.