December 31, 2022

She takes the cake

4.8 min read| Published On: December 31st, 2022|

By Cindy Peterson

She takes the cake

4.8 min read| Published On: December 31st, 2022|

Mom would be proud of pastry chef’s homemade sweets

As a young girl, Jackie Watkins loved cooking with her mother as mom made full-course meals for the family of seven, as well as making all the appetizers, main courses and desserts when they hosted holiday dinners and get-togethers. 

Jackie always looked up to her and knew it’s what she wanted to do one day.

“It was in my blood,” Jackie says. “I used to help my mom bake because that was my favorite part. She was such an amazing person to look up to and I knew that I wanted to be just like she was.”

At age 15, Jackie got a job working in the kitchen at a restaurant in Fort Myers where she grew up. After high school, she attended the Culinary Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale and moved to New York City, where she attended The Art Institute of New York City for baking and pastry.

 “Pastry is really where I wanted to be,” Jackie says. “I became a pastry chef in several restaurants in New York and New Jersey. But I missed my family, so in 2006, I moved back home.”

In 2007, she settled down in Umatilla, where her title went from pastry chef to mom when she had two girls back-to-back.

“I’m the stay-at-home mom,” Jackie says. “I tried doing custom cakes on the side, but the most important thing was to raise my girls.” 

But now that Jackie’s daughters are 12 and 13 and becoming more independent, she felt it was time to return to the culinary world. 

However, being a full-time chef wasn’t what she was looking for. She still wanted to have time for her family. A commissary kitchen was the perfect answer. 

“This way I can bake all the things I love and still make it to my daughters’ sporting events,” Jackie says. “I take orders and put out menus for holidays specialties. The community has been really supportive.” 

On The Menu

Many of Jackie’s favorite desserts—like seasonal cobblers, cheesecakes, banana bread, cookies, pies, cakes, banana pudding and more—are on the menu.

Some of her unique creations include a dirt cake cookie which wouldn’t be complete without the gummy worm on top, marshmallow cheesecake
with chocolate ganache,
pumpkin pie scone, and creme brûlée with fresh berries. 

She also makes delectable pecan pie bars, pie cookie samplers, chocolate fudge pie, fireball pumpkin pie and Dutchapple pie.

In addition to sweet treats, she offers a variety of quiches, garlic cheddar “sea” biscuits and gravy with seasoned shrimp and crab gravy, and handheld chicken pot pie. 

Recipes

Orange Chocolate Truffle Cake (Flourless)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange zested and juiced 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  1. Lightly grease and dust a 9-inch cake pan with granulated sugar.
  2. In a bowl, combine chocolates, then cream and melt in microwave for 30 second bursts until fully melted and smooth.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugar.
  5. Add orange juice and half the zest.
  6. Reserve remaining zest for ganache layer.
  7. Continue whisking until frothy and sugar is dissolved.
  8. Add in vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture until combined well.
  9. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
  10. Don’t worry if you notice it begin to crack while baking.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool.
  12. Top with chocolate ganache and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours before serving. 

*To serve, run a knife along the edges of the pan. You can place a hot damp towel on the pan to help release the cake from the pan. Flip onto serving plate and serve with whipped cream.

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp orange zest 
  1. Melt chocolate and cream together in the microwave until smooth.
  2. Add reserved orange zest and mix until combined. 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange flavored cognac
  1. Combine ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form. 

Pear Cobbler

  • 3 lbs of pears 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder 
  • 1/4 tsp ginger 

*You may use any variety of pears. I used a combination of Bartlett for its hardy “pear” flavor and acidity and Red Anjou for its sweetness. 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup pancake mix 
  • 2 sticks butter sliced into tabs 
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  1. Peel and core the pears and slice into chunks.
  2. Place in a bowl and add remaining pie ingredients.
  3. Stir until the pears are nicely coated.
  4. Pour into a 9×11 baking dish.
  5. Combine the all-purpose flour and pancake mix for the topping and place it on top of the cobbler mixture.
  6. Top with butter slices and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
  8. Pears should be tender and top should be
    golden and bubbly. 

Strawberry Frangipane Tart

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp zest, orange or lemon 
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract 
  • 1/2 tsp lemon or orange zest 
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam 
  • 1 pint strawberries
  1. Lightly grease 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and zest.
  3. Pulse until combined well. Add the cold cubed butter and pulse until you don’t see any pieces left. Do not over pulse as this will create heat and cause the butter to melt.
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Pulse until dough starts to clump together.
  6. Turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead together until smooth.
  7. Place between two pieces of parchment paper and roll a little over the size of your pan.
  8. Transfer to pan and press in.
  9. You will have excess dough. Just cut around the edges with a knife. Chill in the fridge for one hour.
  10. Once chilled, place a piece of parchment paper on dough and fill the shell with dry beans or baking weights.
  11. Blind bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
  13. Set aside to cool completely.
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  2. You can also use a handheld mixer.
  3. Beat on medium speed until creamy.
  4. Turn to low speed and slowly add the almond flour and alternate with eggs until evenly combined.
  5. Add remaining ingredients until well combined. 
  1. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and spread jam on the bottom of the shell.
  2. Fill with the frangipane filling.
  3. Slice washed and dried strawberries and line the filling with the halved side up in ring formations.
  4. Melt 2 tbsp of jam and brush on top of strawberries.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 55 minutes, until the filling has risen and reached a golden-brown color.
  6. Dust tart with powdered sugar.
  7. Serve with ice cream. 

*Tart may be kept at room temperature for up to two days. 

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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