If we were to put together a list of our top ten regional foods, somewhere near the top of that list would be the specialty of Racine, Wisconsin: kringle. We’ve adored the race track-shaped pastry since the moment it made first contact with our tongues. Kringles are sold year-round but, as you might guess from its name, sales explode as Christmas approaches. In fact, experience has taught us that if you intend to place an order around the holidays, either for yourself or as a gift, you’d better get started in November. By the beginning of December, they’re all spoken for.
CBS News has published a story, and posted a video, about kringle that we found very interesting. We didn’t know, for example, that the first Racine kringles were shaped like pretzels, and filled with raisins and almonds. Today, the most popular flavor is pecan, and it’s also our own kringle of choice. We generally get ours from Bendtsen’s Bakery, which we think makes the finest kringle in Racine, and is the only one of the big three that still makes the pastry by hand. That said, we’re also quite fond of the kringle from O&H Danish and Larsen.
Truth be told, none of the three use butter in the pastry (and we think the flaky kringle would be even better if they did), but many folks butter it at home anyway after warming it briefly in the oven. We do that too, on occasion, but really, none is necessary. It’s well-nigh perfect as is.