Fresh Fruit Tart
The best fruit of the day is saved for this pretty tart, filled with a pastry cream that’s lightened with whipped cream and stabilized with gelatin. You won’t see this tart when there isn’t peak season produce, and it tends to sell out early.
Pain au Jambon
Once cut into a triangles, a third of the massive block of the day's croissant dough gets a layer of rich Gruyere and applewood smoked ham from Niman Ranch. These are formed the same way as a regular croissant: rolled from the base of the triangle toward the point. It’s a delicious combination: buttery, cheesy, and meaty, but the weight of the cheese and ham tends to compress the croissant layers, so you get less of a light-and-airy experience than you find in the other croissants.
This isn’t a bite-sized cheese puff. Nope, it’s a beast, this thyme and black pepper-seasoned gougère, scooped large and topped with extra Gruyere, then baked in the deck oven until dark like the croissants. It’s pierced when it comes out of the oven to let steam escape so the shape doesn’t collapse. I love the contrast of the interior web of rich, eggy dough and crisp cheese-crusted exterior—if your taste skews more savory than sweet, give it a try.
Somewhere between an open-faced sandwich and a savory French toast, these are assembled and then rested overnight before baking to let a layer of rich béchamel soak in. Available toppings include ham, turkey, shiitake mushrooms, fromage blanc, and seasonal vegetables like heirloom tomatoes in summer or asparagus in spring, sprinkled with Gruyere and black pepper and baked until brown and bubbling.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
The lightly sweetened and egg-enriched tart crust is filled with a chocolate mousse flavored with orange zest and brandy, and studded with hazelnuts that are toasted dark to echo the 72% chocolate’s deep flavor. It bakes only briefly so the filling doesn’t dry out.
Coconut Cream Tart
Flaky tart dough, pastry cream: it could be quite French, but this tart goes tropical with pastry cream flavored with unsweetened coconut. The delicate shell is lined with a very thin layer of dark chocolate, then chilled, then drizzled with a pourable caramel. The chocolate helps to seal in all of the wet ingredients to maintain the shell’s crisp exterior. The sweetness is carefully attenuated: the crust itself is unsweetened, and the whipped cream is also prepared without sugar to offset the sweetness of the caramel. The whole tart is topped with large toasted flakes of coconut so the first thing you encounter is a rich tropical aroma.
Banana Cream Tart
Traditional French pastry goes all American, thanks to ripe bananas, gooey caramel, and a mountain of whipped cream. The shell is lined with a very thin layer of dark chocolate, then chilled, then drizzled with a pourable caramel. The chocolate helps to seal in all of the wet ingredients to maintain the shell’s crisp exterior. The crust itself is unsweetened, and the whipped cream is also prepared without sugar, to offset the sweetness of the caramel, sweet banana, and pastry cream.
A tart shell filled with frangipane cream made with butter, sugar, pastry cream, whole slivered almonds, and brandy, then topped with fruit (such as huckleberries or cranberries) and baked. It’s finished with an apricot glaze, a scattering of toasted almonds, and powdered sugar. Bakers at Tartine like to say their pastries are “finished by the wind” rather than having a fussy, over-perfect appearance.
Based on the same pâte à choux as the gougère, this pastry is baked and then re-toasted before filling with pastry cream. (Some places slice their éclairs, but at Tartine, a squeeze bottle does the trick.) It’s topped with a rich and chewy coating of chocolate.
Double Chocolate Tea Cake
If you want to eat chocolate cake for breakfast, you can do it at Tartine. This is the same cake they serve as a Devil’s Food cake, just without caramel or ganache. The dough is baked in a loaf pan, with a topping of cocoa powder and Valrhona chocolate feves for extra richness.
Banana Walnut Date Tea Cake
This isn’t your standard tea cake: it’s made with leavener for an extra sour element, and the butter gets cut in, more like a scone, rather than creamed like most cakes. The final texture is somewhere between cake and biscuit or scone, and the flavors are rich and caramelized, thanks to a dose of dark molasses, sticky dates, and toasted walnuts.
Lemon Almond Poppyseed Tea Cake
The dense, rich texture of this tea cake comes from a large portion of high quality almond paste (not marzipan, which has a lower percentage of almonds in it.) Come winter, they get festive by subbing out the poppy seeds for pistachios and cranberries. While still warm, the cake gets a glaze of orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar, and a shower of powdered sugar.
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Between 350 and 450 of these cookies go out the door each week. They’re pressed out to five or six inches and baked hot and fast in the deck oven for a crispy result with lots of caramelized surface area. Made with walnuts, oats, and organic evaporated sugar, they offer a bit of molassesy flavor in a lacy and delicate package.
A little bite of chewy lightly-flavored chocolate cake, dipped in rich chocolate ganache.
One batch of Tartine lemon bars uses almost an entire case of lemons. The rich lemon curd is poured over a toasty pine nut shortbread crust that’s baked until golden brown before topping.
Chocolate Rye Tart
Rye flour works well with chocolate, so this tart has no regular pastry flour at all. It’s filled with a chewy, marshmallowy meringue filling flavored with almond meal, vanilla, and unsweetened chocolate.
Mexican Wedding Cookie
These start with a not-too-sweet cookie made with butter, flour, and walnuts. After baking, they’re tossed in powdered sugar and refrigerated, then they’re tossed in powdered sugar again before serving. If you travel with these, the bakers suggest dipping them one more time in powdered sugar for appearances sake when you arrive.
Chocolate Souffle Cake
An extra-rich cake made with a Valrhona chocolate souffle with rich chocolate ganache, garnished with gold leaf “to let you know how rich it is.” A little sliver will do ya, but you usually have to buy at least a six-inch round; it’s only occasionally sold by the slice.
Lemon Meringue Cake
Genoise layers are soaked in lemon, simple syrup, and caramel, then topped with lemon cream and rested until the liquids have permeated all the layers, “Cakes are sponges for flavor, and need time to rest,” notes Pellicano. This cake is finished with dramatic spikes of meringue that are toasted with a torch.
Gettin' Hot in Here
Torching the meringue.
Devil's Food Cake
Made with the same cake as the double chocolate tea cake, but baked in rounds, this one is layered with caramel, chocolate ganache, and toasted chocolate crumb. The bakers strongly advise serving it at room temperature. “Right out of the fridge, you don’t get the nuances of this cake,” they warn. “The dark, the sweet, the toasted element...the texture of the ganache at room temp is lush and velvety,” says Pellicano.
Tres Leches Cake
The three milks in this cake are coconut milk soaked into chiffon cake layers, a Bavarian cream filling, and a goat milk cajeta (cooked caramel) that’s made using a raw goat’s milk and cooked with sugar until thick but spreadable. “It adds a darker, grassier flavor than a regular milk caramel would,” notes Pellicano, though the final result overall is mild and pleasing.
Tres Leches Cake Action
Adding a dollop of cajeta to the Tres Leches Cake
I personally don’t go to Tartine seeking a particularly healthy breakfast, but apparently this multitextured muesli has a bit of a following. It highlights some of the grains that are incorporated into Tartine’s bread doughs, including rye flakes and buckwheat groats. Almonds and hazelnuts and currants give it a toasty earthiness that contrasts the tangy yogurt, creamy whole milk, and sweet cubed and grated apples.
Oat Currant Cookie
A snappy and crisp oatmeal cookie flavored with currants, orange zest, nutmeg, and a bit of molasses.
These were inspired by a Chez Panisse recipe, with orange zest and anise seed added for aroma. They’re made in long logs, toasted and then cut, then retoasted in the convection oven.
These are essentially meringues, but they’re cooked hot and fast for a toasted exterior that gives way to a sweet, billowy center. They’re filled with cocoa nibs or toasted almonds, and they’re gluten and lactose-free.
Salted Chocolate Rye Cookie
These cookies have a brownie-like texture that relies heavily on a combination of eggs and melted chocolate. There’s finely ground sea salt in the dough to bring out the savory side of the rye. On top, a crumble of Maldon sea salt teases your lips.
The secret ingredient is no surprise here: butter, butter, and more butter. It’s leavened only by the volume the butter gets while mixing for results that are both crisp and tender. These are baked in a sheet pan until golden brown, coated with sugar, and sliced while warm before the cookie sets.
Walnut Butter Cookie
This one is a staff favorite, thanks to its deep golden color and bits of cinnamon and whole walnuts folded into the not-too-sweet dough. The exterior gets a coating of sugar on every side for a crunchy texture. Pair with the chocolate pudding.
These are made with all spelt flour, which offers a bit of nuttiness. (Note: these aren’t gluten free.) Made with 72% cacao chocolate, the final brownie is fudgy but not undercooked, chewy and dense.