From Kringle Wreath to Bread Pudding

More adventures in the croft Advent kitchen
Will the Master Baker come to the rescue?

Johannes Vermeer - The Kitchen Maid

Johannes Vermeer – The Kitchen Maid c.1658. Rijksmuseum

After a course of counselling and esteem building I was ready to open the Advent kitchen again and continue my exploration of Scandinavian Christmas baking. This time I vowed to follow the recipe precisely, and accurately measure and weigh all the ingredients. However,  I decided to add the liquid carefully to avoid the sticky dough syndrome. I  was ready – clean apron, a perfect mise en place, bowls and utensils ready, recipe to hand and specs on.
Mixing the dough was easy and although I did not add all the milk and butter mixture, it still seemed a little sticky. As the kitchen is a little on the cool I left it to rise for an hour rather than the specified 30 minutes. So far so good. The dough was still stickier than I would have liked, but with a prodigious dusting of flour it was possible to roll it out into the 60 x 15 cm rectangle and spread it with the almond filling. The filling paste of marzipan, butter, ground almonds and beaten egg was sweet enough for my palate so I did not add any extra sugar. Rolling the dough into a cylinder was not for those with more than the average number of thumbs and my kringle wreath looked like a lumpy sausage stuffed into a lisle stocking.  The next initiative test was to get the wreath onto the baking tray – the solution was easy two large fish slices and a big palette knife, but the manipulation with only two hands was more tricky. By this time I was having serious doubts and wondered whether it might have been better to let it elegantly slide on to the floor. Undeterred I covered it with an antique, white damask napkin (the Master Baker is very particular about his bread cloths) and left it to rise. After the prescribed 30 minutes it has not doubled in size so it was left for an hour before putting in the oven.
After 30 minutes it looked like an incubating alien pod with tentacles spreading out over the baking tray – the Kraken wakes? After another 10 minutes it was a nice golden brown but cracking like a volcano. Time to call in the Master Baker for a second opinion – the verdict “give it another 6 minutes and let it cool on the tray”.
By the time it was cold, it had set – hard. Time for the taste challenge –  glossy exterior, good almond flavour and not too sweet, BUT a heavy doughy texture.  The post-mortem – “the dough was probably too wet and at some stage should have been lightly kneaded to work the gluten”. So I scraped my self-esteem off the kitchen floor again and the moral of the tale is don’t be seduced by recipe books with glossy pictures! This is the third failure from this particular book (Scandiliciious Baking  by Signe Johansen), and three out of three points to flawed recipes rather than operator ineptitude.
Fortunately not all was lost, it made a great bread pudding!
As for the cookery book, it will probably gather dust on the shelf, some tempting recipes but with a big caveat emptor!

kringle wreath

It didn’t look like this in the book!

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19 thoughts on “From Kringle Wreath to Bread Pudding

  1. Actually it looks rather nice! 😀 Our family used to be prepared for school cookery lesson disasters and we’d have the custard at the ready… works every time. 😉

  2. Bravo to you, Chris, for being patient enough to try 3 recipes from a book that is obviously lacking in clear instructions. Lucky you made lemonade out of lemons, or in your case – bread pudding from a kringle wreath. Still a few days left to make some tried and true recipes. Have a very Merry and yummy Christmas!

    • I’m resting on my laurels now! Tried and tested will do fine from now on. We have a big dilemma over what to eat as a neighbour turned up with 7 lobsters! So it will be a yummy Christmas.

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  4. No no no – the kitchen maid has obviously been using a different cookery book, definitely with a Flemish rather than a Scandinavian bias, and she is in complete control. So it’s either a different cookbook or a different painting to model yourself on, something more Scandinavian – The Scream, perhaps?

      • It would be fun to search it (like Where’s Wally?), looking for the Master Baker and his consort to see what they were up to

      • Fortunately the Master Baker has taken control and while he is producing gorgeous gougères, perfect granary loaves and baguettes , mince pies and other divine patisserie, the apprentice has been put on washing-up duties. Order and discipline has been restored, no giggling and definitely no ribaldry – at least for a while!

      • No giggling and no ribaldry? I don’t believe that! I suspect your relationship is largely founded on these characteristics and your blogging public would surely be poorer without them so I think you need to loosen the disciplinary belt a little…

      • “I was born to catch dragons in their dens
        And pick flowers
        To tell tales and laugh away the morning
        To drift and dream like a lazy stream
        And walk barefoot across sunshine days.”
        ― James Kavanaugh, Sunshine Days and Foggy Nights

      • You are introducing me to all sorts of poems and poets I don’t know – this is another I shall need to look up, and I thank you for widening my horizons.

      • This one was a fragment found whilst looking for some other half remembered poem. Not sure if its worth pursuing – but who knows.
        There will doubtless be other trifles to amuse, inspire and tease next year.

      • It’s a pleasurable way to get distracted though, as I found myself re-reading Eliot (plus my pencilled margin notes) when checking out a quotation for a post recently

  5. Pingback: Christmas in the Croft Kitchen | Croft Garden

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