Danish Christmas kringle

Danish Christmas kringle

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  • 12
  • Easy
  • 12–18 hours fridge time
  • 20–25 minutes

"All Scandinavian countries have special Christmas breads; they are as important as Christmas cake is in Britain. My only problem was which one to select. The Danes are widely regarded as the best bakers in Scandinavia, so here is their Christmas offering. The flavour of cardamom, as with a lot of Danish baking, is pretty dominant. Have your kringle with mulled wine or strong coffee and don’t forget to light a few candles while you’re eating. That’s what the Danes would do." – Diana Henry.


  • For the dough:
  • 2 1⁄2 t fast-action dried yeast
  • 50 g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 125 ml warm full cream milk
  • 250 ml double cream
  • seeds from 20 cardamom pods
  • 425 g plain flour, plus more to dust
  • 1⁄2 t sea salt flakes
  • 115 g butter
  • For the filling:
  • 300 g marzipan, roughly chopped
  • 75 g blanched almonds
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 T kirsch, or other fruity liqueur such as Chambord
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 30 g fresh cranberries
  • To finish:
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 15 g flaked almonds
  • 8 sugar cubes, roughly crushed
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • lemon juice

Cooking Instructions

1. Mix the yeast with the 1 tbsp sugar and the milk. Leave somewhere warm for about 15 minutes, until it is frothing. Stir in the cream.

2. Crush the cardamom seeds and add to the flour, salt and the 50g (13⁄4oz) caster sugar in a bowl. Chop the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour on the yeast mixture and mix together. It will look a bit coarse-textured and that’s fine, so resist any urge to knead it. Cover and put in the fridge for 12–18 hours.

3. Make the filling by whizzing everything except the fresh cranberries in a food processor, or you can keep everything whole if you prefer a more textured filling. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the fresh cranberries.

4. Put the chilled dough on to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 40cm (16 inch) square. Fold the left-hand and right-hand edges of the dough into the centre to make a block 3 layers in depth. Now roll this into a long strip measuring 90 x 7cm (36 x 3 inches).

5. Mould the filling down the centre of this strip and pull the long sides up to cover it. Pinch to seal, then trim each end of the roll to make it neat. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, making sure the join is on the bottom of the roll, curling it into a pretzel shape. Cover lightly with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (375°F), Gas 5.

7. Brush the top with the beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with the flaked almonds and crushed sugar cubes. Bake in the hot oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.

8. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, then add just enough lemon juice and water to make a thin icing. Drizzle the icing over the top of the kringle. Leave it to set, then serve.

Adapted with permission from ‘Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, food to warm the soul’ by Diana Henry. It is published by Octopus Publishing and distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers.

Find more Christmas dessert recipes here.

Diana Henry Recipe by: Diana Henry
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Diana Henry is a British food writer. Born in Northern Ireland, she is author of nine cookery books on subjects including books on cooking chicken, healthy eating, gastropubs, preserving and Nordic cuisine.

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