Reader Flip writes to say that his kringle had some large cracks down the middle. He also mentions that cracks are a recurring problem with his laminated pastries, especially croissants, and wonders what he might be doing wrong.
Flip, my guess is it’s an egg wash problem. Though you might not think it, egg wash is a very strong glue, at least once it’s heated. If you paint your wash too low on the pastry, trying to increase the amount of glossy real estate, there’s a good chance you’ll get some egg wash on the pan or parchment. That can be disastrous from a presentation perspective.
For the egg wash will glue the edge of the outer layer of your pastry to the pan (or paper). It’s this layer that will have all the shine on it, but it’s also the layer that will get brittle the fastest as the pastry heats up (egg proteins start to harden at a mere 140 degrees Fahrenheit). What happens to this very thin, inflexible and immobile shell as the pastry underneath expands? It cracks open.
However if you’re careful to only apply wash to the top of the pastry, you leave expansion areas along the outer edges that can flex as the pastry starts to bulge upward and outward. The glossy top stays all in one piece. Thanks for an excellent question, Flip!