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Atsuko Fujimoto’s Crossover Cooking

At her wholesale Norimoto Bakery, she's infusing classic pastries with farflung flavors.

Atsuko Fujimoto’s not-your-father’s Danish, filled with strawberry–green-tea custard from Norimoto Bakery
A not-your-father’s Danish, filled with strawberry–green-tea custard.
By Kate McCarty
Photographed by Ryan David Brown
chocolate cake made with sake and dolloped with passion-fruit ganache;
Chocolate cake made with sake and dolloped with passion-fruit ganache.

Babka buns with sweet adzuki-bean paste and pomegranate, chocolate sake cake oozing with passion-fruit ganache, and Danishes filled with strawberry–green-tea custard: How did Portlanders survive their recent stint without baker Atsuko Fujimoto’s irresistibly delicious, fusion-y pastries?

Her treats had been on Portland’s dining scene since 2002, after Fujimoto moved from Tokyo, where she was editor of a music magazine. Once she decided to be a baker, she got kitchen work at several venerable Old Port establishments — Fore Street, Standard Baking Co., and Miyake. Then, in 2014, she and Markos Miller opened Ten Ten Pié, a Bon Appétit–acclaimed and locally beloved East Bayside general store where Fujimoto served upwards of a hundred different sweet and savory items at the lunch counter. In March of last year, though, the shop closed, and just like that, her peach-plum galettes with ginger-honey cream were gone.

Fortunately, it took only a month for Atsuko Fujimoto to get her Japanese-Euro mash-ups back on the market. She leased kitchen space from South Portland’s Two Fat Cats Bakery and started distributing through cafés and markets under a new brand, Norimoto Bakery, which caught on quickly. “Now, I’m at the place where I really need to find a bigger space, hire people, and grow the company,” Fujimoto says. 

More Okinawa black-sugar brioche rolls with hōjicha custard and walnuts, please.

Coffee shops, markets, and restaurants that carry Norimoto baked goods include, in Portland, Bard Coffee, Speckled Ax, the Proper Cup, Little Woodfords, Higher Ground, Hilltop Coffee, Rose Foods, Sun Oriental Market, Sichuan Kitchen, Little Giant, Izakaya Minato, Woodford Food & Beverage, and Uncharted Tea, and, in Gorham, Carter’s Green Market. During the coronavirus pandemic, Fujimoto is offering curbside pickup orders Thursdays through Sundays in South Portland. For daily menus and ordering instructions, visit instagram.com/norimotobakery.