St. Cloud Times, Minn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Grace Oey is reinventing a pastry that is popular in southeast Asia. As Sara Kocher reports, “[Oey’s] rainbow puffs are a Chinese-influenced pastry that’s traditionally filled with a salted egg and bean paste. Oey puts different chocolate flavors in them: Belgian chocolate, peppermint dark chocolate, matcha Belgian white chocolate.”
Mix together a dash of creativity, a hefty pinch of humor and a heap of inspiration from southeast Asia, and you get Puff da Pastry, an in-home business churning out unique baked goods for the St. Cloud area.
If that looks a lot like “uff da” to you, that’s by design; baker and entrepreneur Grace Oey is, as pop crooner Jason Mraz says, all about the wordplay. Further evidence can be found in one of Oey’s four spiral puff flavors, a mix of cardamom and peach she named “Cardy P.”
The website describes it as “aromatic spiced peach of great finesse” — a nod to a Bruno Mars and Cardi B song called (you guessed it) “Finesse.” (Her husband, Adrian Wijasa, helps Oey brainstorm names and also serves as tech support.)
The spiral puffs are one of a few types of pastries Oey makes and delivers to customers who order. The baked goods are reimagined treats inspired by popular snacks from southeast Asia.
Oey grew up in Indonesia, then spent 10 years in Singapore, studying and working as an interior designer. She met her now-husband through mutual friends. He lived in the U.S., and when they married, Oey moved.
She started baking young, helping her mother. Now a mom herself, the business is a good way to supplement their family’s income, she said.
The spiral puffs are her most popular treats to date, a traditionally fried pastry and popular snack in southeast Asia. Traditionally, they’re savory, but as a cottage food producer, Oey has some restrictions on usable ingredients. So, she reinvented the snack using sweeter flavors.
Her rainbow puffs are a Chinese-influenced pastry that’s traditionally filled with a salted egg and bean paste. Oey puts different chocolate flavors in them: Belgian chocolate, peppermint dark chocolate, matcha Belgian white chocolate.
A little more sporadically, Oey also offers mochi donuts, a Japanese/American hybrid treat that’s an up-and-coming popular pastry in the U.S. Wijasa said he heard about them online, and knew the St. Cloud market wasn’t exactly saturated with mochi donuts. Oey also had a friend in Pennsylvania who mentioned them.
“We loved it, so I just tried to sell it,” Oey said.
Her classic mochi donut is crunchy on the outside with the sweet, nutty flavor of caramelized sugar. The donut itself isn’t overly sweet, but a simple, even glaze adds a kick of sugar. It’s chewy in the best way.
Oey accepts orders Monday through Friday via her website, then makes and delivers her treats on the weekends. How early she starts baking depends on how many orders she gets; she tries to finish by noon Saturday so she can meet her 2 to 5 p.m. delivery window.
Oey said she and her husband are foodies, and she noticed there weren’t many bakeries in the area making the kind of goodies she does. She started baking for Puff da in February, and her menus are seasonal.
“I think that we can offer something different,” she said.
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