Jessica Duggan’s dessert mantra for her Tattered Apron Bakery matches her grandma’s: homemade, old-fashioned, loaded with real butter.
Those desserts will make their Tacoma debut Thursday at the Broadway Farmers Market season opener.
The pineapple upside-down cake was a favorite among the lush desserts from her grandmother’s kitchen, Duggan said. “It was buttery, beautiful, dense, and it was homemade. I remember her melting down the butter, then the brown sugar, then laying down the (pineapple) rings and cherries, then pouring the batter on top and baking it off. She used an old skillet, and its handle was missing.”
That cake was requested at every family birthday party. Duggan has her own version now, but only because the original recipe was lost to a house fire.
And an early encounter with a lava cake cinched her love for decadent desserts. “My grandma’s lava cakes were so wonderful. I was a greedy little piggy, and I ate the whole center out of a cake once.” Her sister got the spanking after Duggan’s chocolate dive. “I feel so bad about it to this day. That cake’s what probably started my love of baking. I just went at it.”
Duggan grew up in Chicago, but transplanted to the Northwest a decade ago and now lives in Puyallup. She worked for a doctor’s office, but in February 2014, she quit her job and launched a bakery with a friend, Paula Purtteman. Duggan operates the business solo now.
She’s entirely self-taught.
She prepares her desserts in the kitchen at the Cottage Bakery and Cafe in Eatonville, baking cookies, decadent desserts and other sweet treats for Puyallup businesses such as Arista Pasta and Sparks Firehouse Deli. But at farmers markets, she’s all about the pie. And cobbler bars. And scones and croissants.
The pies, which make up the majority of her market sales, came at the urging of a manager at Puyallup Farmers Market, who insisted that if she sold whole pies or pie by the slice, shoppers would flock to her booth. And they did.
Duggan started her second season at the Puyallup Farmers Market last month. Thursday will be her first time selling in Tacoma. She’ll stock the same things she does at the Puyallup market: Mini pies ($10), full-sized pies ($19.95) or slices ($3.50) in apple, cherry, marionberry and strawberry rhubarb. The lattice-topped apple mini pie straddled tart and sweet, with apples that still had body and a heavy whiff of cinnamon. Her cobbler bars ($3) were buttery wedges filled with raspberry-coconut, marionberry or strawberry rhubarb. She’ll debut a lemon white chocolate cobbler bar this week. She also sells hand pies (the pastry cousin of turnovers) in chocolate, blueberry, cherry and strawberry rhubarb. Scones come with blueberries, lemon cream or raspberry butter. Handmade croissants come in almond, chocolate and maple bacon.
If there’s a lesson I’ve learned from spying on her booth the last two weeks at the Puyallup Farmers Market, it’s that you should arrive early. The offerings are slim by lunchtime.