Dessert

Eat This (Now): Japanese Taiyaki at the Dallas Farmers Market

Ashley's Farm Fresh Kitchen at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Ashley's Farm Fresh Kitchen at the Dallas Farmers Market.
On a recent Saturday morning, Ashley Beck of Ashley’s Farm Fresh Kitchen was arranging loaves of bread and pastries at her booth at the Dallas Farmers Market. A small display case was stuffed with golden pastries, adzuki-filled buns and pretzels dogs. There were also two red gas stoves, each with a small pan on top of them used to make taiyakis, Japanese street snacks made of a lightly sweetened cake with a custard filling, traditionally adzuki, and shaped like a fish.

Ashley's is an organic bakery with a niche for Asian baked goods as well as a home delivery service. Beck lives on a farm in Van Alstyne with her husband and kids, four cats, two dogs, chickens, a herd of British white cattle and a sourdough starter named “Jerry.” This past June she started selling at the farmers market and has amassed a loyal following quickly, which is understandable.

Beck bakes her taiyakis as ordered, carefully filling each fish-shaped indention with a pancake-like batter before spooning in the filling. It takes less than 10 minutes for each to bake; she carefully peeks and pokes the batter ensuring it's cooked through perfectly.
click to enlarge Taiyakis are cooked as ordered, which means they're steaming hot when handed over. Wait a bit so you can enjoy, but not so long that the middle isn't still warm. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Taiyakis are cooked as ordered, which means they're steaming hot when handed over. Wait a bit so you can enjoy, but not so long that the middle isn't still warm.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The result is a slightly crispy, warm and just-enough sweet treat with a variety of options for filling: adzuki, Nutella, marshmallow, strawberry, peanut butter or custard. The latter is a simple delight. If you need more sustenance, Beck can make a sandwich out of two and stuff them with katsu curry, bulgogi and kimchee or ham and cheese.

Baking, growing and cultivating all started as a hobby but has grown into a full farm-to-market cottage business for Beck. She prides herself on using locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, as noted on her Facebook page: "Remember, what comes out of my farmhouse kitchen are as many locally grown farm-fresh produce and pasture-raised meats as I can source. Also, I use as many organic and non-GMO ingredients as I can find from grocery shelves as well!"


Beck also peddles her goods at Pearl Street Eats, which is the DFM’s evening street market every third Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring a rotating selection of chefs, vendors, desserts and drinks.

Beck also has a meal delivery service in Van Alstyne with plans to start supplying baked goods to the Honey Bean, a coffee shop in downtown Van Alstyne. You can keep track of her through her Facebook page.

As the weather cools, she plans on adding Japanese curry to her menu, which you can scout out on her website. Beck is also making a pumpkin spice taiyaki this weekend, which honestly sounds amazing.