Everything you need to know about Spilled Butter Desserts is encapsulated into these two words: Crack Pie.
That’s a recipe for a deliciously addictive oatmeal crust pie in the cult dessert cookbook, “Momofuku Milk Bar,” a dessert cafe of the same name with multiple East Coast locations.
Spilled Butter Desserts owner Brianne Day, a Gig Harbor native who opened her dessert and espresso stand two weeks ago outside Tacoma’s Dave’s Meat & Produce on North I Street, has made a modified version of the famous Crack Pie a cornerstone of her dessert repertoire.
She started making it while a pastry chef at a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she moved a few years after graduating in 2001 from Peninsula High School. In Arizona, she worked as a bread baker and wholesale dessert baker before the four-year pastry chef gig. Most recently, she worked for three years as a pastry chef at the former 60th Street Desserts in Seattle.
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What I admire about her version of that famous pie ($3.25 a slice) is that she’s excised some of the sweetness and intensified the richness. She’s replaced the recipe’s suggested powdered-sugar topper with a lightly sweetened whipped cream dusted with nutmeg.
The result is a salty-sweet intersection, and something that tastes like the offspring of a butterscotch-oatmeal cookie and a gooey blondie brownie. It’s offered every day at the stand.
A recent visit found a chocolate-dipped turtle cookie with a nutty shortbread-style base and a topper of soft, creamy caramel ($1.75), and a Basque-style creamy cake laden with blackberries ($3.50).
Day offers a daily selection of at least a half-dozen desserts, many of which look like terrific revamps of ’50s-era favorites, such as whoopie pies and raspberry-filled hand pies.
She rotates through cake by the slice, key lime and s’mores pies, cupcakes, her own version of a “Fauxstess Ding Dong,” cinnamon rolls, eclairs, iced cookies, muffins and sweet quick breads.
For those who eschew sweets, Spilled Butter Desserts offers breakfast burritos and slices of quiche. Fresh-brewed coffee and espresso are on hand, using beans from Cafe Umbria.
On Fridays and Saturdays, her busiest days of the week, her menu includes gluten-free muffins, cookies or cupcakes.
Her space is too small for an oven, so she bakes in a commissary kitchen owned by her mother, Debbie Nozawa, of Picasso Catering. Gig Harbor locals might remember Nozawa from when she owned the popular Gig Harbor cheese cafe, Isa Mira.
This is her first bakery. She stumbled into the Dave’s Produce space — a stand that previously held the bakery, Gageby Farms — after she made a cake for the daughter of Dave’s Meat & Produce owner Derek Kipapa, who asked her if she wanted to start her first business at the small stand that was vacant.
For now, she’s a one-woman dessert act.
“It’s a really cozy spot. It’s not too big or overwhelming. I don’t have to hire 10 people to staff it. I can do it by myself for now. Hopefully I can hire someone someday, but for now, it’s just me. It’s in a wonderful neighborhood,” said Day. “Dave’s has been in the neighborhood for so many years and (Derek) already has a good clientele. I thought, if I don’t try this, I’m going to regret it. So here I am.”