Pay no attention to that sign. Yes, it says Jubilee Cupcakes, but visitors to the South Hill bakery will find an evolving pastry lineup well beyond cupcakes.
A year after opening, the bakery has slowly and quietly evolved into something more of a full dessert bakery. Jubilee aims at what Pioneer Bakery in downtown Puyallup offered before its closure earlier this month.
The prettied-up bakery case is the result of owner Patti Frank hiring Sirpa Singh, a recent pastry school graduate with an interesting background. With Singh at the helm of the kitchen, the bakery offers close to a dozen different desserts with an ever-changing menu – fresh-baked cookies, cake balls, coffee cakes, danish, turnovers, cinnamon rolls and even gluten-free pumpkin bars. But the neatest addition as of late has got to be galettes – those rustic, free-form pastries that cooking magazines in the last year have declared the new cupcake. They’re Singh’s specialty, along with a broad range of European-style pastries that have been rotating through Jubilee’s bakery case.
What makes galettes so appealing to home bakers is that they’re easily assembled and they’re supposed to look messy, which means you can tell your friends and co-workers that the rustic tart is intentionally “slightly misshapen.”
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The best part of a galette is that ingredients can come together in minutes. Except for chilling time for the dough, a galette can be assembled in 20 minutes and ingredients can be anything you have in your fridge. Leftover curry, apples with ugly brown spots, leftover pastry cream – think of a galette as an empty vessel waiting for your castoffs.
True to her professional pastry background, Singh’s galettes and tarts look far better than anything that might come out of my kitchen. The apple-plum galette she baked last week looked like a Christmas package with a perfectly tucked crust. Next to the galette, a buttery tart with an orange filling was a glossy masterpiece.
Expect to see more fanciful and exotic pastry flavors from Singh, who grew up in Finland, married an Indian man and spent 30 years traveling the country and world while holding an accounting job that she left after the buyout of Washington Mutual. Singh enrolled in Seattle Central Community College’s culinary program and graduated in March 2012.
Singh calls her switch to pastry a “natural evolution,” even if the line from accounting to baking doesn’t seem linear.
“The change was very easy for me,” said Singh by phone last week while taking a break from baking tarts. “I’ve baked all my life. In Finland, where I’m from, every Saturday is baking day. I learned pastry, buns and breads early on. My mother had culinary training; I have a whole family of bakers.”She did have one advantage over classmates – she’s a whiz with numbers, fractions, portion calculations and figuring out ratios.
Her baking philosophy, she says, is very European – turning pastry into fetching desserts using fresh ingredients at their prime. That means she’s making lots of apple galettes and tarts these days. “I use a lot of apples because they’re Washington’s number one crop. And pears.” Said Singh, “My method is more sustainable and working with the seasons.”
With harvest season here, Singh offered readers a recipe (included below) for an apple galette that could easily be amended to accommodate any lingering summer blackberries still hanging out in the back of your fridge, plums from a backyard tree or a fresh pumpkin puree. The recipe can include any combination of fruits. Singh suggested using liqueurs, nuts and spices to add more flavor.
With the fruit season dwindling, what’s next for the bakery? Savory samplings. Last week, Singh concocted a savory curried vegetable galette. “They were delicious. They were more hors d’oeuvres size. They would go great with a Washington riesling,” she said.
Jubilee BakeryWhere: 13333 Meridian Ave. E., PuyallupInfo: 253-466-3101, jubileecupcakes.comHours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursdays-SaturdaysAbout the bakery: Jubilee first opened as Sweet Things Cupcakes in Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood in 2009, changed its name to Jubilee in 2010 and opened the Puyallup location in June 2011. The Proctor Jubilee closed in January.
Apple GaletteFor the dough:
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour1-1/2 teaspoons sugar3/4 teaspoon salt1-1/4 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes4-5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
For the filling:1-1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices4 tablespoons sugar, divided1/2 teaspoon lemon peel1 tablespoon of apple juice, cider, or apple wine1 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 cup apricot or apple preservesWhole milk
Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off pulsing turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep dough chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet (you will bake the galette on the parchment paper). Chill 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine apple slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon peel, apple juice, and cinnamon in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1-1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, creating a very rustic free-form crust, being sure to pinch any cracks in crust to keep filling from escaping the crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Slide long, thin knife between parchment and galette. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature, plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or with vanilla ice cream, custard, etc.
Source: Sirpa Singh, pastry chef of Jubilee Bakery in Puyallup.