Copenhagen Pastry opened this month in Pasadena, just in time for Danish pastry lovers to stock up on Christmas goodies without the long trip to the original shop in Culver City.
Even better, customers can drop in on Christmas Eve (today!) and New Year’s Eve too, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for last-minute gifts, like cute bags of handmade Christmas cookies, or a single, delectable ball of chocolaty goodness called romkugle. This is cake that’s been broken up, mixed with cocoa and rum, shaped and rolled in chocolate, to make something that's more like a fat truffle than a cake.
“I grew up on these,” says Copenhagen Pastry owner Karen Hansen.
For Christmas brunch, there’s butter cake (smørkage), which in Denmark is called seven sisters, because seven pastries are grouped together in a ring. They’re filled with vanilla custard, almond paste and raisins. “I call it the Rolls Royce of pastries,” Hansen says.
For a holiday dessert, the almond mazarin cake will upstage anything else. Introduced this year, it’s a round cookie crisp topped with creamy almond paste and layers of almond brittle, frosted around the edge with dark chocolate.
Located on Colorado Blvd. just east of Rosemead, the new Copenhagen Pastry looks exactly like the original, inside and out, except that it is larger. Both have the same pastries and a window through which you can watch the bakers. And when you get an actual Danish at either place, you know its 27 layers of pastry is the real thing.
Kringles here are also taken seriously. Twisted into a pretzel, the flaky pastry is the signature offering of every bakery in Denmark and Hansen stays true to the original. No American innovations such as raspberries are allowed — only custard and almond paste within and a topping of sugar and sliced almonds.
Danes eat kringle with coffee, and while you’re browsing, you can get the same sort of coffee the Danes drink, which is “smooth and not overpowering,” Hansen says. She duplicates hers with a special blend from LA Mill. And you don’t have to buy a whole kringle to eat with it. The same pastry is formed into long strips that can be cut into individual servings as well.
The kringle and the Copenhagen are the shop’s lead pastries. Filled with vanilla custard and trimmed with strips of vanilla and chocolate frosting, the Copenhagen is the one kids like.
Although stocked with heavenly, rich sweets, Copenhagen Pastry acknowledges diet restrictions too. A printed list shows which pastries are nut-free, gluten-free and contain no dairy. The one vegan item is Danish rye bread, which is also low in sodium and nut- and sugar-free. If you want to see how good gluten-free can be, try the kransekage, It’s pure almond paste blended with egg white and sugar on a chocolate base—“one of my favorite things,” Hansen says. “It’s just so decadent.”
Copenhagen Pastry, 3731 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 792-7200.