Recipes from Craftsman and Wolves: Apple Gruyere Scone, Cocoa Carrot Cake with Cocoa Crumble


Several recipes from my favorite bakery, Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco, have been published on-line.  These include a previous iteration of the cocoa carrot muffins, in cake form, and a sweet-savory apple gruyere scone.  Both are delicious and definitely worth doing.  I am hoping for the pear-yuzu croissant, the Rebel Within, and Valrhona chocolate chip cookie recipes to someday be published.  Note to Chef William Werner: cookbook, please!

Cocoa carrot cake recipe here

Apple gruyere scone recipe here

Other William Werner recipes on-line:

– Thai scones and Chocolate coffee eclair on the Starchefs site here.

– several recipes on Food and Wine, including chocolate peanut butter shortbread sandwich cookies recipe  here.

– update December 2014: C&W made it to the cover of the annual Bon Appetit Christmas issue with five recipes for Christmas sweets!  Link here.  And, the Valrhona Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was finally published in 7×7 magazine here!

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Craftsman and Wolves, part IX


Pear and yuzu croissant

Pear and yuzu croissant

Okay, I am not sure exactly how many times I have been to this bakery, but it’s a lot (see here and here).  They put up three new items on their Tumblr/Instagram feed last week – the morning bun, gingersnap quince cube cake, and, yes, I will drive up to San Francisco to try the Thanksgiving dinner pop-tart.  The best item I tried this was actually the pear and yuzu croissant.  A buttery, flaky croissant filled with roasted pear and bits of yuzu citrus, adorned with a candied almond sculpture.  Brilliant and delicious.

Craftsman and Wolves Autumn 2013


Apple & coconut tart — vanilla, rye palet

Apple & coconut tart — vanilla, rye palet

What I love about Craftsman and Wolves is their constantly evolving, seasonal menu.  Some things never go off the menu (Thai scone, Rebel Within) while other new creations pop up and then are gone (come back, banana cube cake!).  William Werner’s team comes up with really creative pastries that are a compelling reason to come back again and again and again… Some recent updates:

root vegetable croissant made with harissa butter

special Halloween cube cake: pumpkin, cocoa nib, praline

chocolate choquette — dark chocolate, passion fruit cream, shaved black sesame

tarragon and almond cake — grapefruit confiture, sable

apple & coconut tart — vanilla, rye palet

Link to Craftsman and Wolves website here.

Link to previous post on Craftsman and Wolves here.

“The 21st Century Pastry Chef” SF Panel


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Belinda Leong of b.patisserie, John Birdsall of Chow, Matt Tinder of Coi and the Daniel Patterson Group, Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Café, Nicole Plue of SF Cooking School, and William Werner of Craftsman and Wolves

The San Francisco Cooking School hosted a panel discussion on “The 21st Century Pastry Chef” with several leading Bay Area pastry chefs on August 8, 2013.  The panel was moderated by John Birdsall, senior editor of Chow, and featured Lincoln Carson of the Mina Group, Bill Corbett of the Absinthe Group, Belinda Leong of b.patisserie, Matt Tinder of Coi and the Daniel Patterson Group, Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Café, Nicole Plue of SF Cooking School, and William Werner of Craftsman and Wolves.  All of them are accomplished chefs with great pedigrees, experience, and recognition, working in different segments of the food industry, from Carson over-seeing the pastry program at the 20-restaurant Mina Group, to Werner, Polzine, and Leong with their own recently opened stand-alone pastry shops.

First things first: SF pastry chefs’ thoughts on the massively hyped “cronut” phenomenon in New York.  For those who have not heard of the cronut, it is a pastry created by Dominique Ansel, a very well-respected NYC pastry chef, that consists of a croissant dough shaped into a donut, deep-fried and filled with pastry cream and topped with frosting.  Sounds delicious.  People are lining up for hours before the shop opens, or apparently paying homeless people to stand in line for them, in order to snag one, in part due to coverage not only in food media, but also national media attention as well.  Most of the SF pastry chefs were very congratulatory of Ansel in being able to capture and take advantage of a moment with his creation, which Matt Tinder appreciated as a demonstration of Ansel’s skill with laminated dough.  The three owners of their own shops reported that their customers have asked if they will make a cronut, but none of them have plans to make one.  And despite the hype, Werner felt that any focus on pastry in the national media is good for everyone.

The big question of the night was whether or not pastry chefs were an endangered species.  A lot of the responses had to do with the economics of the restaurant industry.  The pastries and desserts do not bring in as much revenue as the savory side (and may actually lose money), so it’s hard to justify a separate pastry chef (even though that chef might be making “only” $40-45K).  Most customers are coming for the savory side and the chef of the restaurant, and not the desserts.  That said, for fine dining establishments, a pastry program is still essential as part of the complete restaurant experience.  And most of the chefs talked about their passion for cooking as why they are there.

There was also discussion on the  generalization that the west coast is more “produce”-driven, eg David Chang’s infamous “figs on a plate” comment, and east coast is more technique-driven.  Tinder made the point that it he thought it was actually much harder to work with seasonally available fruits and vegetables, as opposed to an ingredient such as, say, chocolate, because of the variability in product quality (need to use refractometers to measure sugar content) and uncertainty over whether something promised from a farm would actually be delivered.

Other notes:

– SF pastry may have in the past best been known for Tartine Bakery’s rustic style, but places like b.patisserie (classic French), Craftsman and Wolves (modern French), and 20th Century (Austro-Hungarian) are moving forward with their own unique styles.

– Favorite under-appreciated ingredient? Corbett, vegetables; Polzine, honey; Werner, macha; Plue, whole wheat flour; Leong, almond flour.  Best response was from Tinder: “plain” yogurt and “plain” ice cream, ie executing a perfect example of a single product in both taste and texture can be a surprise.

– Qualities that the chefs look for in someone who is interested in staging in their kitchens: commitment, respect for the chef’s kitchen and the years they have put in to perfect a recipe, willingness to listen and to own mistakes.

– New cooking school grads want their own shop right away and don’t understand that it takes years to learn the craft and be great and don’t appreciate or even know about pastry chefs who have come before them.  Kids these days!

Overall, it was an informative, thoughtful program from some amazing pastry chefs providing perspective from a range of different backgrounds.  Prior to the discussion there was a dessert bar with absolutely delicious Feve artisan chocolates and pies from PieTisserie in Oakland.

The new San Francisco Cooking School on Van Ness just north of Civic Center recently opened in a beautiful space and is offering various culinary and pastry arts certificate programs as well as single session cooking classes.

Bakery Review: Craftsman and Wolves (San Francisco, CA)


There are so many great bakeries in the Bay Area like Tartine, Bouchon, and Sandbox, and Craftsman and Wolves is my new favorite.  C & W opened last year, and what I like about it is that almost everything has a modern twist.  They are famous for the “Rebel Within” a sausage and scallion muffin with a soft-boiled egg in the middle, the yolk oozing out as you cut into it.  How did they do that?  There are bold flavors, like a Thai scone with coconut, dried mango, ginger, and green curry, or a peppery smoked cheddar gougere.  There is a decadent “Devil” chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache and bitter chocolate toffee, and a refined and delicate chocolate caramel eclair. The brownie had a layer of delicious, gooey salted caramel.  The blueberry muffin was moist with a hint of lemon. The croissants are on point, filled with proscuitto, tomato jam, and other rotating flavors.  Oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies are done well, especially the valrhona chocolate chip cookie, where it appeared like there was a sheet of chocolate that ran through the middle of the cookie.  They also have a great hot chocolate.  The Banana cube cake is maybe one of the best pastries I have ever eaten.  Basically everything has been truly well crafted and delicious, and I look forward to trying other items on the menu, such as their sandwiches, cakes, and breads.

C & W is located on a very trendy block of Valencia between 18th and 19th in the Mission, right next to the Dandelion Chocolate factory, a small batch artisan chocolate shop, and Mission Cheese, a cheese tasting bar.

Link to Craftsman and Wolves here.  There is a great video of Chef William Werner putting together one of his precise cube cakes here.

Craftsman & Wolves on Urbanspoon
 

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