Are Danishes Meant to Be Eaten Cold?

Published Categorized as Food
Danish pastryracorn /Depositphotos

For the taste. For the memories. For the moments that matter. Here’s how to enjoy danishes, the fine product of Austrian-Danish baking tradition.

In 1850, Danish bakery workers went on strike. Instead of getting food and shelter in exchange for their labor, they wanted to be paid in cash.

Denmark, a quaint Scandinavian country on the peninsula of Jutland and its surrounding islands, had a population of 1.5 million at the time. To keep their businesses open—and their customers fed—Danish bakers brought in temporary workers from abroad, many of whom came from Austria.

The Austrian bakers, although masters of the art and craft, were admittedly more familiar with their home country’s traditions than they were with those of Denmark. And so, short on time to learn shortcrust pastry, they introduced techniques and recipes of their own.

Danes accommodated these recipes to their liking by adding more eggs and butter. As a matter of fact, they liked them so much that they kept to them once the dispute between bakery owners and local workers was settled. And so, modern-day Danish pastry was born.

Colloquially known as danishes, Danish pastry should be eaten and enjoyed at room temperature. These treats taste their best fresh out of the oven, allowed to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Eating danishes is a true Goldilocks dilemma, in which room temperature is the option that’s “just right:”

  • Cool the danishes too much, and they will no longer be as fragrant and flavorsome;
  • Overheat them, and the jelly or custard filling will become gooey and runny, which can spoil the pleasure of eating them.

That said, many prefer warming up their danishes before eating them to bring out their rich aroma and decadent flavor, especially if they’ve sat out for a few hours.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preferences. If you would like a warm Danish, we would recommend fuss-free heating in your oven.

How to Store Danish Pastry

Despite lore to the contrary, Danish pastries are not meant to be kept at room temperature for days on end. For safe consumption, a few ground rules, which we will discuss momentarily, apply.

Danish pastry is filled with jelly, fruit, custard, or cream and cheese—all perishable products that must be refrigerated. For this reason, danishes are at their best the moment you buy them at the bakery. Soon after, they start to lose their freshness and peak quality.

If you don’t intend to eat the danishes within a few hours of buying them from the bakery, place them in an airtight food storage container and refrigerate them overnight.

For long-term storage of 1-2 months, seal the danishes in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer.

How to Reheat Danish Pastry

Although the microwave is every cook’s shortcut, it can cause your danishes to come out chewy and rubbery, not crispy and crumbly. Unless you are short on time or you’re in the office and this is your only option, avoid the microwave.

To reheat Danish pastry, whether refrigerated or frozen, wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it in a 350°F (180°C) oven until it springs back when pressed down on the top gently. Generally, this takes 3-4 minutes for refrigerated and 9-10 minutes for frozen pastries.

Some say that Danish pastry only gets better with time, and for good reason:

As a danish rests, the aromas and flavors of the dough and the filling meld together in a treat even more delectable than when it came out of the oven. Reheating can also make the pastry crispier, and thus more appetizing.

By Jim Stonos

When Jim isn't in the kitchen, he is usually spending time with family and friends, and working with the HCW editorial team to answer the questions he used to ask himself back when he was learning the ropes of cooking.