Ten tasty pastries you should be able to identify if you live in Denmark

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Ten tasty pastries you should be able to identify if you live in Denmark
The Danish kanelsnegl is similar to a cinnamon roll, but also comes in a myriad of other flavours like rum. (Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix)

The making of Danish pastries is an art form all of its own, and you don't count as really integrated until you can name the most common types.


It's a sign of the cultural alchemy that went into creating Denmark's delicious pastries that what American's call a "Danish", the Danes themselves call wienerbrød, or "Viennese bread", with the very first brought to Denmark in the 1840s by enterprising Austrian bakers.

Neighbouring Sweden has also thrown some things into the mix, with perhaps the most popular variety, the Kanelsnegl, literally "cinnamon snail" basically just an evolution of the less tasty and certainly less fattening Swedish Kanelbulle or "cinnamon bun".

Here's a quick cheat sheet on the various tasty treats Denmark's many bakeries and cafés have on on offer and how to recognise them. 

The top five: 

Bakeries adapt their kanelsnegl in many different ways. Photo: Maria Nielsen/Visit Denmark


The cinnamon snail has come a long way from its soft, moist, doughy Swedish cousin, with a crispy, buttery, flaky pastry that can be almost biscuit-like. The cinnamon should be almost welded to the surface with melted sugar, and it's normally topped off with a little dollop of icing. 

The Kanelsnegl has spawned countless luxurious variations, such as the Høj Snegl, or high snail, which is a taller version with a less biscuity pastry, which is filled with remonce, the creamy Danish cake filling made from creaming butter, sugar, and sometimes spices or marzipan together. 

Bakeries will often come up with their own new variants, such as a croissant snegl, a romsnegl (with a rum-flavoured remonce) or a Brunsvigersnegl, that mixes the concept with that of the dark sugary syrup of a Brunsviger cake,

On Wednesdays, most bakers will make an onsdagssnegl, a "Wednesday snail", which is a jumbo version with a special twist, often with a softer dough and cream in the middle. 


Spandauer filled with raspberry jam. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix


Competing with the kanelsnegl for the top spot in the hierarchy of Danish wienerbrød is the spandauer, named after a famous Berlin prison which it supposedly resembles. 

Flaky dough, laminated with butter like a croissant, is shaped to form a well into which custard crème or jam is poured, with sliced and lightly broken-up nuts often sprinkled on top.


Tebirkes (top half) and Frøsnapper (bottom half) ready for delivery. Photo: Maria Nielsen/Visit Denmark


This poppy-seed foldover is definitely in the top five list. It's traditionally stuffed with remonce and is somewhat less sweet than the kanelsnegl, (although it arguably makes up for this in fat).

Sometimes in Denmark you'll see a plain birkes, which is less sweet and don't have the remoulade filling and which you sweeten by slathering with your own jam. You can also find a grovbirkes, which is a savoury poppyseed roll which can be eaten with cheese.

According to St Peders Bageri, Copenhagen's oldest bakery, a tebirkes should be "crisp - and not dry - and at the same time have a centre that is moist and soggy". 

So now you know. 

Photo: St Peters Bageri


These plaited buns or twists are made by weaving a soft dough around a delicious cardamom remonce before baking. They are closer to a Swedish cardamom bun, and are delicious, with a buttery, earthy aroma. You can also get a cinnamon version. 



A Frøsnappere or "seed snapper" is buttery puff pastry that's been smeared in a sticky remonce and poppy seeds and then twisted around itself and baked to make a sort of crunchy, sweet wand. They are also sometimes made in savoury versions with cream cheese and sesame seeds. 

The second division: 

Photo: Udo Schröter/Wikimedia Commons


To make Kanelgifler, the cinnamon remonce is rolled into pastry in a similar way as for a cinnamon roll, but the ensuing bun is baked pastry side down.


Photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix


These raspberry slices are made from a sweetened shortcrust pastry layered with raspberry jam, topped with icing and sprinkles, and then cut into bars. 



A seasonal variant on Hindbærsnitter made with a tart rhubarb filling, often lent some sweetness by a smear of remonce and then sprinkled with sliced almonds.


An alternative rhubarb-based wienerbrød is the rabarbarhorn, a flaky pastry wrapped around marzipan remonce and rhubarb.  You can also find a raspberry version, a hindbærhorn, shaped like a French croissant, or even an æblehorn, an apple version, for that matter. 

Photo: Erik Jepsen/NF/Ritzau Scanpix


Most bakeries will offer some sort of Æbletærte or "apple tart", either as a wienerbrød or cut into slices. 



Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2022/01/18 18:17
I have not lived in Denmark for some time, but I am pretty sure that no Danish baker would put remoulade in a tebirkes. It is likely a spell check error, and the author meant to write remonce.

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