New Kauai Bakery to Open in Kapaa
On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Judy Capertina will open a spin-off of Haole Girl Island Sweets in the Kinipopo Shopping Center. Haole Girl To Go, located in the former Cakes by Kristen location, will sell plain and stuffed butter croissants as well as sticky buns to go. Judy also makes wedding cakes and specializes in rolled fondant. Cakes start at $10 per person and adding fresh fruit is an extra $1 per person. She can make tiramisu or flourless chocolate cakes for $11 per person, with the extra $1 per person for fresh fruit. She has a number of molds especially for elegant plated desserts, including triangle mini-cakes layered with fillings and covered in chocolate. These personalized cakes are great for catered events.
“There are no limitations,” says Judy who describes her cakes as clean-cut European style made with island produce. “Everything is customized according to the client.
I had a chance to interview Judy when she first opened Haole Girl Island Sweets. Here’s the story.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the flakey, buttery layers of a well-made croissant, chances are you’ve always longed for the tender pastry. I remember childhood vacations to my mother’s homeland of Barcelona, Spain. Each morning, while we slept soundly in our beds, my aunt would tiptoe from her city apartment and buy croissants from the baker across the street. We’d wake up to the smell of her espresso and the warmth of those freshly made croissants. My yearning was filled on Monday, May 27, 2013 when chef Judy Capertina opened Haole Girl Island Sweets.
“The name is a spoof because I’m a wanna be native,” says Capertina. Laughter reaches her bright blue eyes and curls of red hair give a little bounce. “I wanted to offer a unique product on the island, so I decided to do the croissants.”
Eighteen years ago, Capertina helped reopen the Princeville Resort after it was damaged by Hurricane Iniki. Seventeen years before that, she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Capertina was the featured pastry chef at the 2004 James Beard Awards and in 2000, she was the executive pastry chef for the Caan Film Festival. She continues to attend the festival every year, but as a chocolatier, which is her specialty. Capertina returned to Kauai last September after working with esteemed chefs such as Leanne Kamekona and Tyler Florence.
As I bring one of her a croissants to my mouth, I smell butter. My teeth break through thin sheets of crisp, golden pastry and find a tender center. Instantly, I travel to those summer mornings in Spain.
“My croissants are made with lots of butter and hand-rolled,” explains Capertina, whose tiny frame is surprising for someone who makes food with boatloads of butter. “I roll 64-pounds of dough twice a week, and I love it because I don’t need to go to a gym!”
Capertina makes her pastry dough with flour, yeast, honey from Kapahi and Hawaiian sea salt. She layers butter between the dough, which is called “locking”, before she folds it in three, like a letter going into an envelope. After rolling it out, she lets it rest for 20 minutes, repeats the process two more times and lets the dough “set” overnight. Each croissant has about 150 layers.
“Since there’s only butter in this dough, it melts in your mouth” explains Capertina. “Some people use shortening, which has a higher melting point than your body temperature, and that’s why it’s gummy and tastes like a Crisco slick.”
After rolling out 4-ounces of dough, Capertina twists some into plain, butter croissants. The rest she fills with enticing combinations of fruit and produce that she’s bought at the farmers market. Popular flavors include roasted pineapple with basil; purple sweet potato and coconut milk; caramel apple banana with macadamia nuts; chocolate apple banana; ham and cheese with Aunty Lilikoi Passion Fruit Mustard; star fruit compote and brie cheese; Hawaiian vintage dark chocolate and flaked coconut; caramelized portable mushroom with Havarti cheese and Thai basil; and sun-dried tomato and spinach with Kauai Kunana Dairy goat cheese.
“I like working at the farmers market because you’re right there with the people that buy,” says Capertina. “Plus, the farmers tell me what they have available. I got mangos from Brian at Ono Organics. I get stuff from Josie in Kalihiwai, Pua Kalo Farm has awesome basil and pestos. I get mushrooms from Keith at Lawai Valley Mushrooms and his sister-in-law sells apple bananas. I got avocados from Omao and I made croissants with fresh guacamole and turkey.”
Haole Girl Island Sweets is available at Kauai Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukuiula (Wednesdays 3:30 to 6 p.m.), Kauai Community Market (Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Hanapepe Art Night Market (Fridays 6 to 9 p.m.). You can follow them on Facebook for market specials.
“It’s great because every time I turn around, there’s something new,” says Capertina. “I get to take what’s in season and put them in my croissants. I just love it!”
Written by Marta Lane for the Nov. 6, 2013 issue of MidWeek Kauai.
Haole Girl to Go
Wednesday – Sunday 7 a.m. until sold out.