Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lessons Learned From Making Kringle or...I better stick to writing.

Kringle is a Danish pastry popular in Wisconsin. In fact, Racine, Wisconsin is home to dozens of bakeries specializing in the layered Danish treat. Traditional Kringle takes three days to make and requires the careful rolling out of the dough and butter to create thin, light layers of pastry. The filling is an almond paste or nut filling, although some versions offer a fruit filling.

Kringle is delicious. In creating the character, Melissa, the young woman Sonja hired for the summer, I gave her roots in Racine. Her grandmother taught her how to make Kringle and it is now becoming a favorite at Shirley’s Cuppa Joe. So far, so good.

If you have read other posts on my blog, you know I can’t let Melissa make Kringle or let Sonja serve it unless I try it out myself. So that is exactly what I did. I attempted to make Kringle. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way:

1.     If the recipe says “high level proficiency required,” believe it. The same is true in life. It’s okay to try and stretch yourself, but in the end, trust the experts.
2.     If you find a recipe that promises to be a shortcut, don’t believe it. The good things in life require us to invest time.
3.     Stick with what you know. Melissa learned from her grandmother how to make Kringle. My grandmother taught me how to make biscuits.

4.     Try again.
     5.     Learn from your mistakes.
6.     Never give up.
7.     Although presentation is important, be careful to not judge the taste by how something looks. Just like life. My mother always said, “Pretty   is as pretty does” ….and finally,
8.     Cherry pie filling and a good cup of coffee can fix almost anything.

My Kringle tasted pretty good and I was able to enjoy it after I cleaned up the flour everywhere, the sticky dough from everything, and got over the idea that it didn’t exactly look like Kringle.

As for my word count? I just finished 53,229 including this excerpt where Sonja is trying to get a local author to come to the coffee shop for a special event:

            “But folks can’t get my book anymore,” Mavis shared.

“Yes, I know, but we would advertise it as you sharing a bit of Door County history,” Sonja explained. “You could share a few good stories. We think the tourists would love it and we’ll try to get locals there as well.”

“So how long are you thinking?” Mavis asked.

“Well, we thought you could share a bit and answer some questions and then we could have a small reception. Maybe an hour or so for the whole thing. Some people might stay behind and want to talk with you more if you would want to do that.” Sonja studied Mrs. Harmon’s face for a clue as to what the woman was thinking. “Of course, we’re flexible,” she added. “What do you think?”

“I could probably do that,” Mavis answered. “Jack could bring me over and help me get set up and all. But I can’t manage climbing stairs, you know. A few steps like up to the porch is okay, though. Jack will help me.”

This put a new wrinkle in the plan. The whole idea was to make use of the upper room. She couldn’t plan it for Sunday morning since she had just agreed to let Melissa’s church group use the coffee shop then. They could possibly do it one evening or on a Wednesday afternoon like today when business was typically slow. Maybe she could take reservations to assure a good turnout.

“Don’t worry. We’ll work it out. And my assistant had a great idea for the reception,” Sonja told her. “Her name is Melissa. She makes Kringle, so she thought she would make the traditional Kringle you wrote about in your book for the reception. What do you think?”

Mavis Harmon clapped her hands together in delight. “Kringle! Oh, it has been years since I tasted a home baked Kringle.”

“We thought we could give everyone a copy of the recipe and maybe a brief synopsis of the story you had in the book about the woman who moved to Baileys’ Harbor when she married and then taught you how to make Kringle,” Sonja added.

So there you have it. Go to Shirely’s Cuppa Joe for some delicious Kringle. But if you want a biscuit….

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