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Mar 14, 2007 06:15 PM

Tartine has cannele

I stopped by Tartine today at about 2:30. Nice day, and there was no line at all! I was excited to see that they had cannele. The person behind the counter told me it was the first time they had made cannele since Tartine was located in Mill Valley. They are $2. They contain orange zest. They aren't huge by any means, but true to Tartine form, they are substantial. The inside consistency is pretty good but a tad gummy, and I think they are a bit too sweet. I like to taste the egginess. The crisp outer shell was perhaps not carmelized/crunchy enough. Maybe these should have been left in the oven a minute longer. In general, pretty good, though.

I think of cannele as a fairly uncommon item, but the gentleman behind me in line says he sees them everywhere. He named Mission Beach Cafe and somewhere else (wish I could remember). I know Bay Bread stores have them.

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  1. That's big news. Tartine offered them during the first few months after settling into their current location in mid-2002, and never since. Mission Beach Cafe, the Boulangeries (Bay Bread), and Boulette's Larder all have them. Boulette's are twice the price and no better than those at the other two.

    1. >since Tartine was located in Mill Valley<

      When and where were they in Mill Valley?

      4 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks. I remember them now replacing another quite good long-time Mill Valley bakery (which name escapes me), but don't specifically remember their goods or them having anything like the following they now have in SF. That must have been a very smart move to the city.

        2. In my opinion the canneles at Mission Beach Cafe are also underdone. In fact, everywhere I see them they are underdone. I was once fortunate enough to have canneles baked by Paula Wolfert, and they were nearly black on the outside, and by far the most delicious canneles I've ever had. I wish these places would learn to cook them longer.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Squeat Mungry

            I'm glad you mentioned this. I forgot to put in my post that they clearly are not using Paula's recipe.

            1. re: Squeat Mungry

              I understood that canneles came in different levels of "done-ness" and it was a matter of preference. My coworker was from Bordeaux, and she used to bring them back from France on every visit. They would come from the bakery in a box, arranged by "color" - from a light caramel/gold color, to a medium-dark caramel, to a really dark, almost-black exterior. Completely different flavors, depending on how long they had been cooked. My favorite was always the darkest option.

            2. Squeat, from that potluck there were four left-over canneles... They froze wonderfully, with a slight re-heat (and re-crunch) in a toaster oven several months later. Thanks for that memory!

              1. I went to Tartine on Friday (March 16) and there were none to be seen. I asked the girl behind the counter and she didn't know nothin about no caneles.

                11 Replies
                1. re: Zeldog

                  She probably wasn't working the day before. She should have asked the kitchen to find out for you when they might have them again.

                  1. re: Atomica

                    Updating: I've been a couple of times recently. The counter staff said what they offer on a given day is completely up to the bakers' whims. There was no predicting when they'd have cannele again. Since the batter has to sit for 24 hours first, it's not really a "whim" kind of recipe . . .

                    1. re: Atomica

                      I went to Tartine the other time (1 or 2PM-ish) looking for the lemon bars, rochers, morning buns, and caneles, but they were nowhere to be seen. The girl I talked to said that they're unlikely to have them later that day. Well, turned out that trays of rochers and caneles were being brought out while I was having my bread pudding w/ a cup of latte.

                      I had to buy some caneles just to see how they compared to Bay Bread's. Well, although they were slightly bigger, the outsides were less crispy and the insides were somewhat dry. I much prefer Bay Bread's version, with its chewy outsides and moist, custardy insides. (Umm, come to think of it, I actually still have 2 in my freezer!) Plus, Bay Bread's are cheaper too ... $1.75 vs. $2 for Tartine's.

                      (Picture below: Tartine's on the left, Bay Bread's on the right)

                      1. re: dreamsicle

                        They're what, $3.50 at Boulette's? Makes $2 seem like a bargain. Do you remember what day you saw cannele at Tartine? Thanks very much for taking pictures.

                        1. re: Atomica

                          It was a Friday afternoon, two weeks ago. I kinda got the impression that the staff didn't know much about the stuff they have though.

                          And oh my, $3.50 for a Boulette's canele? Are they larger in size? One comment said they weren't any better in terms of taste, so is there a justification for the price?

                          1. re: dreamsicle

                            Boulette's cannele are not only expensive, I think they are awful. I tried them twice, and both times I thought the outside was completely lacking that deep burnt caramel flavor of a good cannele. I thought Bay Bread's were okay, though the ones I had were WAY more done than the one in the picture above.

                            By the by, if you search for "cannele" on egullet, there's an amazing thread that Paula Wolfert personally participated in, and shared her recipe and tips. I've used it 3 times now and it turns out fine cannele. If you have the molds, the bee's wax, and 36 hours or so to contribute to the project :-)

                            1. re: Pistou

                              Paula Wolfert worked tirelessly on developing that cannele recipe. I am fascinated by them. Quoting from Paula's book, Daniel Antoine of Patisserie Antoine says, "The canele is an artisanal product, so sometimes it doesn't come out perfectly." Heidi from 101 Cookbooks says, "I hate to say it but at the end of the day making canneles is kind of a bitch, so if you are impatient, this isn't one for you." It's not as easy as baking a cake. Now that Pistou has mentioned not liking Boulette's cannele, I kick myself for not buying one yesterday. (I don't know how to make the circumflex or accent aigu, sorry.)

                        2. re: dreamsicle

                          I forget what they cost, but the cannele at Le Boulangerie are consistently first rate.

                          1. re: dreamsicle

                            Update: Bay Bread cannele are now $2. I just bought one at Rigolo after not buying a Bay Bread cannele for many months. It was absolutely horrible. Awful astringent flavor. The outside was the right doneness, but the inside was underdone, mushy, and far too sweet. Also asked (twice) for a vanilla madeleine for my toddler and received a lemon. She didn't like it. I tasted it and I don't blame her--there was nothing to recommend this dry, sawdusty, chemical-tasting madeleine. Downhill alert.

                            1. re: Atomica

                              Had a Bay Bread one a couple of weeks ago and it was the best I've had in the Bay Area. Crunchy outside with a sink your teeth in middle. Yum. Okay, you guys were right. Closest to the Paula Wolfert ideal that I've had so far (at least in SF Bay), though the ones Wolfert made were super crusty and practically black.

                              I had a Boulette's Larder cannele also. God what was I thinking, i used to think they were good. No comparison to the Bay Bread one I had. I like Bay Bread's macarons too. My favorites are the lavender and the passionfruit mango, probably because they are the most strongly flavored.

                              1. re: choctastic

                                Had my first Bay Bread cannele yesterday, from the Polk Street store (actually, my first cannele ever) and loved it - my favorite part of a cream puff is the tender middle part, so a pastry designed to maximize the creamy middle is a dream come true. Plus I like it when things are caramelized just short of char, so I swooned over the super-dark outside (I asked for the darkest ones they had).

                                Enjoyed the lavender and caramel macaroons (the caramel leans more towards butter and less towards sugar, but I still liked it). Tried the violet flavor out of curiosity... it was slightly tart and almost grape-y... no way I would have pegged it as a floral if I hadn't seen the sign.