Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Local Danish Bakery Serves Up Savory Desserts

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:41 AM

click to enlarge Steve Hashemi greets customers at the register, while Sherry Hashemi prepares a coffee drink. The Hashemis named their business after their daughter. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • Steve Hashemi greets customers at the register, while Sherry Hashemi prepares a coffee drink. The Hashemis named their business after their daughter.

With their light, flaky exterior surrounding gooey insides, Danish pastries are as close to perfection as it gets.

Luckily Tucsonans don’t have to settle for the semi-stale, packaged varieties found in warehouse clubs across town. For authentic, baked Danish goods, locals need look no further than the Catalina Foothills area.

Mona’s Bakery (4777 E Sunrise Dr # 113) is Tucson’s only Danish bakery. Owners Steve and Sherry Hashemi opened Mona’s in 2001 before settling into their current location. 2017
marks its tenth anniversary in the Swan and Sunrise area.

click to enlarge I remembered to snap a shot midway through devouring my  Danish pastry. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • I remembered to snap a shot midway through devouring my Danish pastry.
“Danish pastries are very popular in all parts of the world,” Steve says. “If you go to Africa or Asia people still ask for these pastries.”

According to Steve, the Danes are unique in the way they fold dough for their pastries. A typical pastry contains 28 layers of Danish dough and 27 layers of butter, according to Steve. At Mona’s, Steve makes his own dough from scratch. Their pastries require the use of special butter, which is imported from Europe. Mona’s also gets its cheese and other raw ingredients from Denmark.

Steve, who graduated from culinary school in Jutland, Denmark, begins baking each morning at 4 a.m. By closing time, Steve says that “80-90 percent” of the product is sold. The bakery sells sandwiches, breads and coffee drinks, but their cinnamon rolls and cinnamon flats are the most popular menu items.

“We’ll sometimes run out of the individual cinnamon rolls by two in the afternoon,” Steve says. “They are very, very popular.”

click to enlarge These cinnamon rolls are customer favorites. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • These cinnamon rolls are customer favorites.
Another favorite, especially during the holidays, is the kringle. Danish kringles are pastries filled with nuts, cheese, or fruits. Pretzel-shaped kringles are sold in Denmark, while American bakeries generally offer oval-shaped ones.

Steve mentions how some of his first customers were winter visitors from Wisconsin and Michigan looking for kringles. Today, his bakery attracts people from all over the U.S.

I first tried Mona’s after returning home from a family trip that included a stay in Solvang, California. Otherwise known as the Danish Capital of America, Solvang boasts numerous delicious bakeries. I was looking to satisfy my craving for a good raspberry-filled Danish pastry. Mona’s didn’t disappoint.

Having Danish heritage, I’m naturally also a fan of ebelskivers. I generally top these spherical, dough delights with powdered sugar and pair them with a healthy glob of berry jam. Unfortunately, Mona’s doesn’t sell ebelskivers, so locals are left to get their fill during the Tucson Meet Yourself weekend or take on the baking venture themselves.

For all other Danish dessert cravings, Mona’s Bakery has got you covered.

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