The Best Danishes in Toronto
The best danishes in Toronto come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, flavours and colours, proving that the danish has moved far beyond its humble origins, and evolved into a modern, endlessly flexible pastry to suit all tastes. Apparently, the danish was born in 1850, when foreign workers were brought into Denmark to work in the bakeries while domestic bakers were on strike over wages. The strikebreakers included Austrian bakers, who used their own traditional recipes, which the Danes loved and continued to demand after the strike ended. The Austrian-made pastries evolved into what is now called the danish, and Toronto bakeries continue to put their own spin on it.
Here is the list of the best danishes in Toronto.
In a fast-paced world of culinary trends, Harbord Bakery's popular cheese and poppy seed danishes have been made with the same recipe and care since baker Albert Kosower bought the shop in 1945. Also popular are their chocolate, almond and traditional fruit danishes (approx. $2.50 each). If you feel like sharing, try one of their specialty danish rings, which serve 6-8 people, for $7.99. More »
Hansen's danishes ($1.45 before tax) are never dry, due to the thin layer of almond paste at the bottom of each pastry. The danishes are made under the direction of owners Reiff and Susan Hansen, using recipes Reiff's father and uncle brought over from Copenhagen. Try their traditional custard and raspberry wienerbrod, or sample their many modern flavours, including lemon, cherry, and apple blueberry (you can score a pack of 6 for $7.95, and there’s no tax). More »
Pain Perdu's danishes are made using recipes from the Southwest Basque region of France. Their cinnamon danish ($2.50) and raisin and custard ($2.40) danishes have been a staple since the shop opened about nine years ago. But their new raisin, goat cheese and walnut danish is causing a buzz, and selling out most weekends ($2.40). More »
Head to Patisserie La Cigogne for danishes on the weekend, when they have their largest variety of "French-style" pastries on offer. Their most popular is the blueberry and apricot, but their fluffy and sweet apple, pistachio/apricot, custard and hazelnut danishes never disappoint ($2.85 each). More »
Co-owner Richard Cambridge says that the philosophy behind Celena's fruit danishes is to "let the fruit speak for itself." The danishes are baked every morning using seasonal fruit (never with syrups) and are therefore, refreshingly, less sweet than most. The pastry is flaky and French-style, but the textured swirl shape is a Celena's original. They're a steal at $1.75 each. More »
On a Saturday afternoon, this Belgian bakery is bustling with clientele, including many from Europe who have found that Rahier's delivers light, flaky, mouth-watering pastries that taste like home. Their danishes come in a mind-boggling assortment of flavours including cherry, apricot, pistachio, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, honey twist and chocolate ($2.10 each). More »
If you find yourself wishing your danish had more filling and less dry edges, you must head to Zane's. These compact danishes are covered with decadent homemade custard, and topped with fresh, colourful fruit. Blueberry, apricot, strawberry, hazelnut, raisin swirl, vanilla custard, and cranberry flavours are available every day ($2 each). More »
At Gilead Cafe, the bakers make one type of danish a day, using preserves that are made in-house. But you'll have to get up early if you want to try one, as they often sell out before 10am. One loyal patron, I'm told, visits Gilead seven days a week for a 3-danish breakfast; good thing there's plenty of variety with something new and seasonal on offer daily. Some flavours in regular rotation include apple, peach, plum and pumpkin seed ($3). More »