Sunday, June 21, 2020

Baker's Treat Cheese Danish Pastries (Aldi)

Why do cheese danishes even exist?
I'm an adult now, and I'm still unable to answer one question that has hounded me since my childhood: do I like cheese danish? It's not from a lack of trying that I can't work out a solution to this ongoing problem, because I've tried a few in my day, but there are a couple of reasons why I can't seem to come up with an answer: 1.) I've only tried mass-produced danishes, and they all seem to taste the same, and 2.) I don't think I've ever even seen a homemade danish. They're like the red-headed stepchildren of the pastry industry, apparently selling enough to justify their existence, but relegated to being that food that no one really cares about enough to replicate in the kitchen. I mean, think about it: have you ever gone anywhere and seen a homemade cheese danish? Didn't think so. (And if you did, did you try a piece? Didn't think so.)

So why do we have some individually wrapped ones from Aldi hanging out in our kitchen? Well, that's what happens when you send your wife to do grocery shopping with free reign to get whatever tickles her fancy. I mean, I'd rather have just saved the $2 and put it toward something else, but hey, here we are, so we might as well eat one, right? After all, they've been sitting here for a few days now, and no one else has made the first move...

One thing I don't like about them - and this applies to every one that I've tried - is that they can't seem to decide if they want to be moist or dry; it's just a rather unappealing texture to me. They remind me a lot of scones, which are intentionally dry (whose idea was it to make a dry pastry; if I want dry bread, then I'm just going to make toast), but with danishes, most of them have a tinge of moisture in them, just long enough to get your hopes up, before dashing them a couple seconds later. Like, are you trying to be a cake, pastry, or a scone? I don't know...this is a food item with a terrible identity crisis. 

Anyway, this Baker's Treat danish offers up that exact same confused texture as all the others: As your teeth initially enter the pastry, it gives off a nice hint of moistness that had me excited—but the further your teeth sink into it, the dryer and dryer it gets, until you're just chewing on sadness. Dry, empty sadness. Who invented these stupid things? All of the good stuff is on the top, leaving you absolutely no good reason to dig any deeper. I just don't understand the appeal of that, but of course, to each their own.

The taste here is also true to form, coming off like just about every cheese danish I've ever had before it...and I still can't tell if that's a good thing. There's the trademark...danish sourness(?) that shines through, especially when you hit what I'm assuming to be the “cheese” part of the title, located in the middle. That's where the flavor “explodes”, although I use that term relative to the remainder of the danish; the rest of it is rather bland, with that trademarked sourdough-style flavor profile lingering on the outer edge, counterbalanced with a(n all-too) slight touch of sweetness thanks to the icing that is drizzled across the top.

I do like that these have a very similar taste to “standard” cheese danishes, but are individually wrapped, which helps to keep them fresh for far longer. The $3.29 price tag is admittedly a turn off (for six pastries), but helping to justify that are the size: these are pretty darn large...almost too large for a serving, if you ask me, because my tastebuds fall asleep somewhere around the midway point.

These are really an enigma to me: that one product that, thirty years on, leaves me unable to form a solid opinion of. They're not all that good, but they're also edible and not all that bad...it tastes like what I imagine everything tasted like back in the 1800s. Come on marketers, where are the “edgy”, “woke” cheese danishes for the millennial crowd? If there's any one food item actually deserves such an update, I think we can all agree that this would be it.

Overall: 5/10. It's a cheese danish. If you like them, you will like this, if you don't, you won't: it's really that simple. The pastry hints that it might have a nice, moist texture at first, before giving way to the standard dryness that must be a requirement set forth by the International Danish Commission, or whatever the governing body is called (and I'm sure there is one). The taste has that standard bizarre sourness, but isn't entirely off-putting, thanks to the icing drizzled across the top. Meanwhile, the middle, which is where the “cheese” part is located, offers up an “explosion” of flavor, that tastes like what life was like in the 1800s. On the plus side, the fact they're individually wrapped is nice, and helps keep them fresh longer over the typical “bakery-style” danish. I also like that they're individually wrapped, helping to ensure that they will last long enough to gather a layer of dust in your pantry before you finally decide to throw them away.

2 comments:

  1. I buy baker's pastries every week. I eat a cream cheese padtry every morning with breakfast. I was really disappointed this week cause I had opened a new box anf there was not even one pastry knbtge box with cream cheese in it. I was very disappointed. The cream cheese is the best part of the pastry.

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    1. I would definitely return that to Aldi for a full refund, and another pack of danishes. Must have been a bad batch!

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