For the past few weeks, Executive Pastry Chef Lisa Vega and our pastry team have been busy developing three new recipes to coincide with the opening of our Ferry Building brick-and-mortar space. Below, she recounts just how it all came together.
A canelé is a beautiful thing, but as any home cook or pastry chef knows, they’re so hard to make well. I’ve always thought that if everyone in my kitchen can bake a perfect canelé, that means we have the skills to do just about anything. To kick us off on recipe development, I sent Meredyth, Lucy, Lia, and Mary this essay by Paula Wolfert about the history and closely-guarded secrets of the canelé; the recipe is filled with places to trip up: seasoning the copper molds with a perfectly even, paper-thin coat of butter and beeswax in a way that doesn’t leave puddles or holes in the crust of the pastry, flipping them out of the molds while still hot, baking them them to the perfect threshold that crisps the crust but doesn’t over-bake the custard inside.
The cakes themselves are fluted and small enough to hold in your palm, and the hallmark of a good one is the shining, crackling, nearly blackened crust of caramelized sugar around a pillowy soft baked custard inside. A classic canelé is vanilla, but we’re not traditionalists in this kitchen. Ours, of course, is chocolate. Deep, dark chocolate. It took two weeks of constant recipe testing, but we’ve finally nailed it, and though the bakers in Bordeaux 300 years ago would slap my wrist for saying it, I think chocolate is a canelé’s best friend.
Next, we decided to work on something more seasonal: a chocolate passionfruit tart. Meredyth calls these “Drake tarts” because we usually blast Drake over the Jambox when we make them—a good soundtrack to dozens of recipe iterations and shortbread dough that won’t stop cracking when you tuck it into the mold. In the end, we ended up with a rum -and-coconut caramel, a ganache with passionfruit purée and Camino Verde chocolate topped with toasted meringue and coconut, all inside a buttery, chocolate shortbread crust.
And for our final, salty finale, we tried something we’ve never tried before: a savory pastry. I’ve always wanted to include something savory, so we got to work on what I think is a wonderful new counterpart to our most chocolatey chocolate: pancetta. We use pancetta from The Fatted Calf—not too salty—which works quite nicely with the nibs and buttery richness of our nibby scone. We also peppered in a few Deglet Noor dates (Medjools were too sweet and mushy) for a little more earthy sweetness, and behold: the Pancetta Scone. Enjoy!