Estonian kringle… “The” brioche that recently triggered a real tidal wave on the blogosphere! My own tidal wave comes from my teen memories.
When I think of “brioche”, I am very far from Estonia. I am in Haute-Savoie with my childhood friend Nourit, at the beginning of our culinary awakening, and we are 15.
It was March 1982. We were at a girls’ boarding school where, for our education, we also had to learn… how to “cook”.
This year, for the holiday of Purim (Jewish carnival commemorating the story of Queen Esther), we learned that because of the chef’s vacation, we would have to settle for a standard meal without the sweet treats that are the highlights of this festival.
No way! That was without counting on the temerity of Nourit and Vera!
We were all barely 15 and we were so sad not to be able to enjoy those sweets, as we did at home.
And here are two young teenage girls who ask to talk to the wife of the director of our beloved boarding school. I do not know if our words or our sad face did the trick, but it seems that we managed to convince her to let us cook but also invade the commissary!
After three phone calls across the Mediterranean, we finally had the famous recipes from our moms and grandmas who had dictated them to us. In addition to the many sweets, Nourit and I made our first brioches that day! Four little hands for over 200 individual brioches which were a resounding success!
I should add that our director and his wife who obviously shared our meals, couldn’t say enough praises regarding our culinary talent which improved day by day (so they said). We couldn’t be prouder!
There is nothing fancy in kringle ingredients as they are similar in all respects to all brioches. However, its ridged crown shape which is unique to Estonia, is quite original but very technical.
This is the second time that I remake a recipe since the birth of our blog. I had a similar issue during the preparation of my Cypriot pastellakis. I was not satisfied at all with the first batch of kringel. I was not able to get perfect ridges on my first attempt. I was not satisfied by the aesthetics even though my guinea pigs’ for the week did not agree with me. And to be honest, I don’t think I reached perfection on the second attempt.
Kringel can be made in a multitude of flavors both sweet and savory so I will have many opportunities to perfect the technique of this ridged crown. The original and most widely adopted version is the one made with a mixture of melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk (warm)
- 8 tablespoons icing sugar
- 4 eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- 3 eggs
- 1¼ cup ground almond
- Sliced almonds
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- Chocolate chips (optional)
- 2 egg yolks
- Sliced almonds
- Beat the eggs and brown sugar until the mixture triples in volume and is firm.
- Add the butter, vanilla extract and almond meal.
- Mix until smooth.
- Mix the yeast and sugar in warm milk and set aside for 15 minutes.
Add the flour and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until reaching a sandy texture.
Swap the whisk for the hook attachment.
- Make a well in center of flour and add the beaten eggs.
Start the stand mixer on low speed and gradually add the milk, sugar and yeast mixture, then add salt, gradually increase the power to medium / high, and knead until you get a non-sticky and soft dough.
From the moment the dough is wrapped around the hook, kneading should continue for at least 5 to 7 minutes.
- At the end of kneading, the dough should be homogeneous, wrapped around the hook and pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
- Put the dough in a large container, cover with a cloth and let the it rest for 45 minutes in a warm place away from drafts. It should at least double in volume.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough and divide in 6 equal parts.
- Roll each portion into a rectangle with a rolling pin.
- Spread the filling and sprinkle with sliced almonds and chocolate chips.
- Roll the dough on itself tightly and form a long "sausage".
- Cut the roll in half lengthwise.
- Braid the two pieces together and give the braid a crown shape. Shape the braid tightly.
- Cover with a cloth and let the crown rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat convection oven to 350 F (180˚C).
- Brush with egg yolk, chocolate chips and almonds and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.