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The fruit tart fell apart.

So Angela Garbacz, owner of the new Goldenrod Pastries in College View, did the next best thing: She improvised.

She and her staff scooped the tart -- with its walnut crust, vanilla pastry cream, kiwi berries and strawberries -- into miniature plastic cups and sold them for $2.75 each.

And, oh my, were they delicious.

“Had I planned to do it that way, I would have made them much more elegant,” she said. “But I wasn’t going to toss (the tart). Why waste something that is still perfectly good?”

The story illustrates how Garbacz has learned to roll with the punches since opening her doors in May at the corner of 48th Street and Prescott Avenue.

Her wonderfully dense and moist cardamom pound cake, for example? That was supposed to be an occasional item in her display case. But occasional turned into every day, when it developed a “cult following.”

“People freak out over it,” she said.

“In my mind, I wanted to change things more often,” she added. “But I found people were looking for things when they came back in. I hadn’t planned on any set routines.”

One thing is set, though: Her intense desire to cater to those with special diets. Goldenrod specializes in pastries, cakes, pies and more for vegans and those who adhere to dairy-free or gluten-free diets.

“I stopped eating dairy three years ago,” Garbacz said. “When I wanted desserts for myself, I started baking them. Whether it’s by choice or necessity, I think everybody should be able to have something nice.”

That doesn’t mean she’s turned her back on traditional diets. She loves the smell of cooking with butter and still does it. Her case is a mix of different things for different diets.

Garbacz has baked professionally for more than 15 years. She trained at the French Culinary Institute, now the International Culinary Center in New York City. Her staff includes her sister-in-law, Danielle Budig, who managed a French bakery in Oregon for nearly six years.

“She’s the talent behind our macarons,” Garbacz said.

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Those macarons -- this week flavored with lavender -- along with the cinnamon rolls ($3.25, vegan), cardamom pound cake ($3.25, gluten- and dairy-free) and peanut butter chocolate cookies ($3.50, gluten- and dairy-free) are fairly regular items, complementing seasonal treats and other specialty goodies, each labeled as vegan, gluten- and/or dairy-free.

The bakery also sells Cultiva coffee, brewing each cup to order as well as iced coffees and Bellocq teas. Goldenrod isn’t doing sandwiches or soups, but Garbacz said she’s considering it. On weekends, she bakes specialty scones featuring locally produced meats and cheeses.

On Tuesday, Garbacz’s case also included a wonderful pumpkin bread with a cinnamon glaze ($3.25, vegan); an extremely sweet galette with strawberry, almond cream and caramel ($4.25) and a giant-sized fig newton with an oat crust ($3.50, gluten-free/vegan).

My personal favorite, when Garbacz asked, was the fruit tart cup -- the Monday mistake. I loved how the cream went so well with the fruit, reminding me a bit of a parfait. It was gluten-free, proving that gluten-free treats can taste great.

Making gluten-free foods taste good is a priority for Garbacz, who is well aware that some gluten-free foods are tasteless. She’s encountered it herself.

“I’ve made a lot of gluten-free stuff that was terrible,” she said. “I don’t make them anymore. But our cardamom cake, our zucchini cake and our macarons are really, really good, and they’re gluten-free.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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