Pear and Honey Custard Tart

This tart is really easy to prepare, but it is so beautiful your guests will think it took you all day. We often feature it as a special in the café, where the tart’s sweet almond crust has a loyal following. You can also find this recipe in our first cookbook!
Ingredients:

Makes one 10-inch tart

¼ cup whole almonds
1 recipe Sweet Almond Dough at room temperature (recipe below)
3 cups white wine
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup honey
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread almonds on rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then finely grind in food processor. Set aside for garnishing the tart.

Using your fingers, press the Sweet Almond Dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Form an even crust, about ⅛-inch thick, over the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. (It’s important that the crust be the same thickness on the bottom and the sides.) Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Line the chilled tart shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or baking weights. Bake on center rack of oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Carefully remove paper and beans and set tart shell aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Combine wine and sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Gently place pears in hot wine, rounded sides down, and poach for 7 to 10 minutes, or until pears are fork-tender. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Continue simmering the poaching liquid until it has reduced by half its volume, then set it aside to use as glaze on the finished tart.

Combine cream, honey, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a medium bowl. Mix well with a whisk.

Place cooled, pre-baked tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Slice the poached pears in half again lengthwise and arrange them in the bottom of the tart shell. (At the bakery we like to spread the slices out in a fan-like pattern.) Pour the custard filling over the pears, filling the shell to just below the top. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until custard is set and golden brown. Let the tart cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan.

Warm the reduced wine glaze over a low heat until it thins, then brush the surface of the tart with a little glaze. Sprinkle ground toasted almonds around the outer edge.

Sweet Almond Dough

This cookie-like dough is easy to make and even easier to work with. Rather than rolling out the dough, you simply press it into the tart pans by hand.

Ingredients:

¼ cup whole almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread almonds on rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then finely grind in a food processor. Measure out 2 tablespoons of ground almonds and set aside. (The remaining ground almonds will not be needed.)

Combine 2 tablespoons of the ground almonds, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl, mix together vanilla extract, almond extract and melted butter. Add butter mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until coarse and crumbly, using your hands to break up any large lumps. The finished dough will stick together when squeezed between your thumb and forefinger.

At this point, the dough is ready to be pressed into a tart ring. It doesn’t need to be chilled. If you’re not ready to bake with the dough, pack it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. The wrapped dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. It’s a good idea to double wrap the dough before freezing it.

Frozen Sweet Almond Dough needs to be fully defrosted before it’s used. My preferred method is to transfer the dough to the refrigerator 1 day in advance. Generally this crumbly dough is pressed into tart pans by hand rather than rolled out, but once it has been frozen the dough will be quite firm. In this case, roll the dough out to ⅛-inch thick and fit it into the desired tart pan. The dough will probably crack when you lift it, but don’t worry. Simply pinch the cracks together with your fingers to repair.

 

A Community Loaf 

Every bread lover should know about The Bread Lab, the famed research center in Skagit Valley. Dr. Steven Jones runs The Bread Lab, an extension of Washington State University. He is devoted to bringing grain agriculture back to our region and developing healthier and tastier wheat varietals for other parts of the country.

About a year ago, The Bread Lab launched a new initiative: The Approachable Loaf. A collective of artisan bakers, millers, and wheat-breeders have banded together to produce a community loaf that follows guidelines established by The Bread Lab. The goal is to produce a whole-grain loaf of sliced bread at a price that will appeal to a mass audience.

The criteria laid out by The Bread Lab are:

  • Baked in a tin and sliced
  • No more than seven ingredients
  • Contains no non-food
  • At least 60% whole wheat—preferably 100%
  • Priced under $6/loaf
  • 10¢ of every loaf sold returns to The Bread Lab to support further research of other whole grain products

The goal is to provide an alternative to the commodity loaves made from white flour or laced with preservatives produced by national bread companies and that dominate supermarket shelves.

As a long-standing member of Bread Lab’s advisory board, Leslie immediately got to work on an approachable loaf. We think you’ll like the result!

Our Organic Whole Wheat Loaf is a hearty pan loaf that comes sliced and ready for sandwiches. Made from whole grain organic wheat grown on Hudson Bay Farm near Walla Walla, the nutritious bread has excellent texture and flavor. Agave syrup adds just a touch of sweetness. The shelf life is 3–5 days.

With this loaf, we are proud to be joining The Bread Lab Collective. Stop in one of our cafés to grab a loaf. Every loaf sold supports the Bread Lab in their research to improve wheat varieties and support local farmers, leading to better whole grain products.

With this loaf, we are proud to be joining The Bread Lab Collective.

Macrina’s Organic MadRy Sourdough Bagels

People obsess over bagels. Try suggesting that you’ve found the best bagel in a crowded room, and you’re sure to spark a fierce debate. New York has the best bagels, someone will say. Another will say Philly. Another Montreal. The one thing almost everyone can agree on though, is that not much compares to a great bagel. 

For years, our customers have been requesting bagels. Much as we would have liked to satisfy their demand, we didn’t have a bagel recipe we loved—until now. Our new bagels are the result of an obsession. Over the last two years, Macrina Bakery’s president, Scott France, has been tinkering with the recipe, refining it, and testing bagel samples. Our MadRy Organic Sourdough Bagels are hand-rolled, given a slow, cool 24-hour ferment, and have just a hint of rye, which adds to their depth of flavor. The caramelized crust has a glossy sheen and the airy interior has a tight, springy crumb that balances the mild tang of sourdough with just enough malty sweetness. 

The naturally-leavened bagels will launch in the cafés on Thursday, May 21, and will be available for wholesale on Thursday, May 28. They will come in four flavors: plain, sesame, poppy, and sea salt. 

In the many months Scott has been developing these bagels, his kids, Madeline and Ryan, who love bagels, became his steady audience, helping him refine the texture and strike the right balance in the bagel’s complex flavors. Hence the name, MadRy. 

All of our ingredients come from the PNW: The organic high-protein flour comes from just north of the border, the organic barley malt powder comes from Skagit Valley Malting, and the organic rye flour comes from Fairhaven Mill in nearby Burlington. We start with a significant percentage of organic sourdough starter and a smidge of yeast. After an initial rise, we handroll them and give them a full day’s cool ferment. The depth of flavor you’ll taste in these bagels comes from the natural leavening and that hint of rye. The whiff of sourdough you get when you tear one open comes from the starter. 

We were careful not to let the flavor dominate but wanted it to be distinctive. “It should make sense when you taste the bagel that the name has sourdough in it,” Scott says. “But if you tasted it without knowing the name, someone intimately familiar with sourdoughs would recognize it, but if you didn’t, you might wonder just what that mild tang was. 

The bagels are available individually or as four-packs. Please drop into one of our cafés and try one! It’s a really great bagel. 

April Recipe of the Month: Roasted Steak Crostini with Arugula and Lemon Aioli

This recipe makes a great appetizer or can be enjoyed as an open-faced sandwich with a green salad for a light meal. Flat iron steak is nearly as tender as tenderloin but is more economical. The marbling in this cut adds flavor, and the meat grills beautifully. If you can’t find it, try substituting hanger steak or tenderloin. Seasoning with black pepper adds a piquant roundness to the meat. Vibrant lemon aioli and crisp arugula enhance each bite with flavor and texture. The crostini pair well with red wine.

Ingredients

Makes 12 crostini

1½ lbs flat iron steak

3 Tbsp cracked black pepper

2 Tbsp kosher salt

¼ cup aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar from Modena), divided

Macrina Baguette

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 bunches fresh arugula

1 lemon (zest and juice)

2 egg yolks

1½ tsp Dijon mustard

1½ tsp chopped garlic

1½ cups canola or sunflower oil

Directions:

Season both sides of the flat iron steak with the cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of aceto balsamico over the steak and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the baguette on the bias (diagonal cuts) into slices measuring roughly a ½-inch thick. Slices should be about 4 inches long. Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the baguette with olive oil and grill until crisp and marked by the grill. Set aside.

Wash and remove the fibrous stems from the arugula. Set aside in paper towels to dry. Zest the lemon and set aside.

To make the aioli, whisk the yolks, 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, mustard and garlic in a medium bowl until combined. Continuing to whisk vigorously, add the canola oil in a slow stream until it’s fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate the aioli until you’re ready to use it.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Preheat the grill pan or your grill to medium-high and sear each side of the steak with grill marks, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven (or place the steaks to the side of the flame on your outdoor grill and cover) for 6 to 8 minutes. For medium-rare steaks, the internal temperature should be 135°F. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes.

Spread the grilled crostini out on a platter and top each with 1 tsp of aioli. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula leaves with the lemon zest, the remaining lemon juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the arugula between the crostini.

Thinly slice the steak and place 2 to 3 slices on each crostini. Finish the crostini with a dollop of aioli and a drizzle of aceto balsamico. Enjoy!

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March Recipe of the Month: Boston Cream Cupcakes

This riff on the American classic makes decadent cupcakes fit for any occasion. Its combination of buttery yellow cake, silky pastry cream and dark chocolate ganache has been popular since the first Boston Cream Pie in 1881. While making all three elements may look like a lot of work, you can make the pastry cream and ganache while the cupcakes are baking. Once everything cools, filling and frosting the cupcakes is quick and easy.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes

Cupcakes

8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

1½ cups granulated sugar

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3½ tsp baking powder

3 eggs

1 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Pastry Cream

2 cups half and half

½ cup granulated sugar, divided

Pinch salt

4 egg yolks

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp powdered gelatin

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Ganache Frosting

1½ cups whipping cream

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the top of a 12 cup standard muffin tin lightly with oil to prevent the tops from sticking after baking. Place cupcake liners in the tin.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for 3 to 4 minutes. It should be soft and pale in color.

While the butter is creaming, sift the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter in 3 additions. Stop the mixer between each addition to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix for another minute to breakdown any remaining clumps of butter.

Keep the mixer on low speed and add the egg mixture in 3 additions. Continue to scrape the sides of the bowl between additions. Once all the egg mixture is added, increase the speed to medium and mix for another minute.

Scoop the batter into each liner until about ¾ full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cupcakes should be set on top and golden brown at the edges. Let cool for 45 minutes.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Place the half and half and ¼ cup sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar, salt, egg yolks, cornstarch and gelatin.

Add small amounts of the scalded half and half to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to temper the yolk mixture. When ¾ of the half and half is combined, pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the pastry cream thickens, remove it from the heat to prevent curdling. Whisk in the vanilla and butter and combine well. Strain the pastry cream into a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap against the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the covered pastry cream for 45 minutes or until cool.

Ganache Frosting

In a medium saucepan, warm the whipping cream over medium heat. When it begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk to dissolve the chocolate. Pour the ganache into a bowl and let cool for 30 minutes. Swirl it with a spatula occasionally for even cooling. Refrigerate the ganache for the last 10 minutes. The ganache should be smooth and spreadable.

Assembly

Remove the cooled cupcakes from the muffin tin. With a spoon or a small scoop, remove a large gumball size scoop from the center of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with cooled pastry cream. Using a spatula, generously spread chocolate ganache frosting across the tops and garnish as you please. Chocolate shavings, brandied cherries or colored sprinkles are our favorite toppings.

Enjoy!

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The (Tasty) Benefits of Heritage Grains

Does “great taste” come to mind when you think of heritage grains?

Many Americans consider heritage grains a health food—something they should eat, not something they want to eat. Fortunately, that appears to be on the cusp of change. Top chefs and bakers have been cooking with new heritage grain hybrids to thrilling results.

One of my favorite events of the year is Grain Gathering, an annual three-day event held every July at the Bread Lab (the event started in 2011). Expert bakers, millers, grain scientists, farmers, and industry representatives gather in the Skagit Valley. Their goal is to break the dominance of commodity wheat and to find a way to sell America on the benefits of heritage grains. Flavor is the number one selling point. Nutrition is another along with environmental sustainability. Virtually every community in America used to grow wheat. More robust heritage wheat hybrids could again make this economically feasible, benefitting local economies.

At a Grain Gathering a few years ago, I was introduced to two hybrids developed by Bread Lab. One is called Skagit Magic, which is grown in the Skagit Valley and milled at nearby Cairn Springs Mill. The other is called Expresso Wheat (or, in the lab, T-85). It is grown in Walla Walla and also milled at Cairn Springs Mill. When I started Macrina, flours like these just weren’t available.

For Macrina’s twenty-fifth anniversary this year, I developed two new breads that utilized these new organic flours. I spent many hours playing around with various techniques and found the heritage flours work best with a slow fermentation. This helps develop subtle, bright flavors and hydrates the bran. I made our Skagit Sourdough with the Skagit Magic. This is one of our most grain-forward and flavorful loaves. The Whole Grain Baguette is our other new loaf, which we make with the Expr results. At Macrina, our two latest breads feature heritage wheats—the primary reason being the astonishing flavor they add. Edouardo Jordan, the star chef and creator of JuneBaby, named America’s best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, opened Lucinda Grain Bar, a concept focused on ancient grains. “As Americans, we eat some of the most flavorless, unhealthy grain-based products in the world,” Jordan said. “Commercialization has stripped down all the nutritional value in our grain product. We are excited to explore the flavor and potential of ancient grains.” Jordan noted that some of the best grains in the world are grown in the Skagit Valley.

The Bread Lab, located in the Skagit Valley, deserves no small amount of credit for this. Part science lab, part high-end bakery, this extension of Washington State University occupies a 12,000 square feet space in Mount Vernon that includes a research and baking kitchen, a cytology lab, the King Arthur Flour Baking School, a milling laboratory and a professional kitchen. The director of the Bread Lab, Dr. Stephen Jones, is currently one of the most influential voices in the food world. Jones is determined to bring diversity to the range of flours widely available. Currently, the bland, chalky white flour born of industrial agriculture is found in almost all the bread sold in America. You won’t find much else at your local supermarket either. By breeding heritage grains that have both taste and nutritional benefits, but that also have the robustness that farmers need to produce high yield crops, Jones hopes to make regional grain farming viable again.

The standard flour available at grocery stores today comes from wheat that has been bred to be optimal for a fast-food hamburger bun. A hundred years ago that wasn’t the case. Diverse wheats grew and were milled in communities across America. Between 1890 and 1930 America went from over 22,000 flour mills to less than 200. The State of Washington had 160. Now there are two. The widespread use of new roller mills that could efficiently strip the grain of both the bran and the germ creating a flour that had an almost indefinite shelf life ushered in this change. This coincided with the rise of the industrial production of food. We got sliced bread in plastic bags and the phrase, “The greatest thing since sliced bread.” However, we lost a wide range of regional flours milled from an incredible range of wheats, many of which had much better flavor than what worked best for industrial bakeries. Not to mention nutrition. Jones writes, “By using only the white portion of the seed, wheat is reduced from a nutrient-dense food to one that lacks basic nutrition.”

When I started Macrina in 1993, it was thrilling to be part of the artisan bread movement that brought French and Italian-style breads to many cities in America. I’m even more excited about the heritage grain movement—so much so that I’m growing heritage wheat on my Vashon Island farm this year!  Seeing grain scientists, farmers and bakers unite around the idea of building a better tasting and healthier bread may just be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 

The Ruby Brink: A Dream Destination on Vashon Island 

This island-to-table restaurant is a rare gem that doesn’t unduly abuse the wallet. “We didn’t want to price out the farmers who supply us,” says chef Rustle Biehn. 

Every so often you stumble into a waking dream. The Ruby Brink, an eatery that opened this spring on Vashon Island, is the sort of place that inspires such astonishment. It’s an island-to-table experience, equal parts public house, restaurant, whole-animal butcher shop, and farm kitchen.

Vashon is sometimes described as an island surrounded by reality, both positively and negatively. Still, one thing that is beyond contention is its concentration of independent, organic farms and its pastoral beauty. Led by an ensemble cast, The Ruby Brink was born of a dream to create a gathering place that offered the best of Vashon: comfort, beauty, a kind of timelessness, and the delicious best each season has to give. The unique blend has led to The Ruby Brink becoming an epicurean hub in Vashon’s eclectic community.

Located in the historic Vashon Landing building on the central corner in the town of Vashon, The Ruby Brink’s spacious interior underwent a lengthy remodel as the owners tailored the interior to their vision. The space is comfortable and elegant in a way that feels suitable for an anniversary dinner or a beer and sandwich after a day on the farm. The classic J-shaped bar is an invitation to sidle up and start a conversation. Comfortable booths and an array of variously-sized tables accommodate couples and large groups.

The owners are butcher Lauren Garaventa, chef Rustle Biehn, and bartender Jake Heil. Lauren’s background includes stints at Vashon’s Sea Breeze Farms, one of the local pioneers of sustainably-focused, grass-pastured meat and later at the farm-to-table Rain Shadow Meats in Pioneer Square. She and Rustle were the duo behind Meat & Noodle Soup Club, the celebrated pop-up. Jake moved to the island from Portland where he co-opened and managed the Multnomah Whiskey Library, called one of the 15 best whiskey bars in the world. Of his experience working at one of the most exclusive places in the Northwest, Jake says, “The legacy of that for me is less about whiskey, and more about hospitality. Here I’ve curated a back bar that is less exclusive, more local, but, I think, just as intriguing. Each bottle has a story.”

The Ruby Brink exudes a kind of relaxed island hospitality, refined and timely, without any big-city pretension. This carries over to the food. “Nothing about this says fine-dining except for the amount of attention that gets paid to the ingredients,” Lauren says. “That’s the number one thing we have in common with any of the fine-dining restaurants in Seattle: we’re able to curate our ingredients to a really high standard.”

Not surprising, given The Ruby Brink’s focus on sustainability, local meat and produce, and simple, clear, lovely flavors. It’s healthy food that is so tasty it leaves you craving more. Jake says, “We wanted to make it as accessible as possible, a place for neighbors and people visiting the island to enjoy each other, the space, have drinks, a snack or a meal.”

The butcher shop, located in one corner of the ample space, offers a variety of cuts and meats as well as one of the best-tasting bone broths you’ll find anywhere. “We’re a one-cow-a-month restaurant,” Lauren says. “Figuring out how to divide up the meat between retail and the restaurant is a puzzle. At the end of the month, every bit of the cow is used, eaten, with nothing left.”

This kind of approach requires a lot of planning. Lauren and Rustle confer each afternoon, and a new menu is printed every day. You may not find the same thing on the menu from one visit to the next. What you will find is balanced, flavorful food served in beautifully composed plates. You’ll always find a Meat & Noodle bowl, but the meat and vegetables will vary. And you’ll always find a sausage served on a Macrina Challah Roll, but the type of sausage will change. Both carnivores and vegetarians are sure to find something to love on the list of starters, sandwiches, salads, rice dishes, and entrees like roasted half-chicken or whole pork chops. “We want you to feel like someone cared deeply about the ingredients and prepared them with love,” Jake says. “That feeling passes through everything we do, whether it’s drinks, food, or service.”

Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and a Vashon resident, says, “The Ruby Brink quickly became a beloved island hang out and gathering spot. The menu showcases what they are getting from local farmers and what Lauren is working on in her butcher shop. The food is always delicious and inspiring. Macrina is very proud to provide The Ruby Brink with bread and flatbreads.”

 

February Recipe of the Month: Chocolate Almond Caramel Tartlet

This classic Parisian dessert is both showy and delicious. The addition of ground almonds gives the buttery crust a richness and wonderfully crumbly texture. It is blissfully delicious and makes an elegant base for the chocolate custard. The caramel topping adds a layer of decadence that might seem a step too far, but because the brandied chocolate pudding is bittersweet, it brings the tart’s three elements into balance. Topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and cocoa powder, this stunner will bring you back to that lovely patisserie by the Seine.
INGREDIENTS

Makes Eight 3-inch tartlets

Sweet Almond Dough

½ cup whole almonds

1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

⅓ cup granulated sugar

8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

Chocolate Custard and Caramel Topping

2 cups heavy cream, divided

¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

5 egg yolks

1 cup + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided

1 Tbsp brandy

½ cup water

Optional Garnish

reserved chopped almonds

cocoa powder

whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

SWEET ALMOND DOUGH

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place almonds on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Finely chop in a food processor and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add ⅓ cup of the chopped almonds, flour and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Reserve any remaining chopped almonds for garnishing.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Turn off heat and cool for 5 minutes, then add vanilla and almond extracts.

Make a well in the center of the our bowl. Begin adding the melted butter and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Measure 3 Tbsp of the almond dough and press into a 3-inch tartlet shell so that the base and sides are an even thickness. Repeat for each tartlet. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Line each chilled tartlet shell with parchment and fill with pie weights (beans or rice also work). Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove parchment and pie weights. Let cool.

CHOCOLATE CUSTARD AND CARAMEL TOPPING

To make the chocolate custard, scald 1½ cups heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bittersweet chocolate chips to a blender or food processor. Pour the hot cream over the chips and blend until melted.

Combine the egg yolks, 3 Tbsp sugar and brandy in a small bowl. Add to the chocolate mixture in the blender and mix for 3 to 4 minutes.

Fill the baked shells with chocolate mixture nearly to the top, stopping a scant ⅛ inch from the rim of the baked shells—the extra crust will act as a border for the caramel sauce topping.

To make the caramel sauce, add the water and the remaining 1 cup of sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar and cook until the mixture turns golden brown. Run a wet pastry brush around the edges of the pan to prevent any sugar crystals from forming. When medium brown, turn off the heat and slowly add the remaining ½ cup of cream to the mixture. Be careful—this will create lots of steam. Whisk vigorously to combine. Transfer to another bowl. Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes.

Ladle caramel over each tartlet so that they are evenly covered. Garnish with the remaining chopped almonds. Chill the tartlets until cool.

Lightly sweetened whipped cream makes a delicious topping and a sprinkle of cocoa powder makes a handsome garnish.

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Macrina’s Core Value Winners

When Leslie Mackie opened Macrina Bakery in 1993, she hoped her love of artisan breads would lead to Macrina becoming a community gathering spot. To her delight, that didn’t take long. As the Macrina community grew, we added another café and started wholesaling bread and pastries. Leslie’s spirit of hard work, a positive outlook, and uncompromising quality guided the team that made all this happen.

When we sat down to put these values into words, we didn’t have to look beyond the diverse team of bakers, pastry chefs, savory cooks, baristas, café staff and delivery drivers that make up Macrina. Our employees live the values every day in their mission to enrich communities through the joy of artisan baking.

We’re proud of our 2019 core value winners and the example they set. We wouldn’t be where we are without their shining contributions.

Working Hard: Erica Olsen, Pastry General Manager

When Leslie first met Erica, she was cradled in her mother’s arms. At the time, Leslie was the head baker at Grand Central Bakery and worked with Erica’s mom. More than 25 years later, Erica had graduated from the Seattle Culinary Academy with honors. She joined Macrina in 2017, and was quickly promoted to Pastry General Manager. Erica and her team of pastry chefs produce all of Macrina’s pastries. Erica’s hard work, ambition, and dedication continue to make Macrina more efficient and consistent each year. Her skill is on display in each delicious and beautiful pastry.

Remaining Positive: Sergio Castaneda, Delivery General Manager

Sergio has been with Macrina since 2002 and oversees a large team of delivery drivers. When Sergio is asked how his day went, he always answers with a smile and an honest response, often detailing positive solutions he found to unexpected challenges Most days, he’s in at 4 A.M. working shoulder to shoulder with the packers and drivers to ensure our customers get their orders on time. Before most have us have even awakened, he’s dealt with mechanical issues, staffing, and drivers stuck in traffic. Tall in stature, his employees call him the gentle giant.

Never Settling: Thanh Huyen Dang, Bread General Manager

Thanh Huyen Dang, who goes by Huyen (pronounced “Wen”), has worked at Macrina since 2002 and as the Bread General Manager since 2012. She works tirelessly to find efficiencies in wholesale production, pushes through challenges, and jumps in to assist managers and employees whenever help is needed. She holds her team to high standards and effectively communicates the many details required to produce so many hand-formed loaves with an exacting consistency. Huyen takes on more responsibility each year and works with her team to ensure our food safety plan is rigidly followed

Embracing Diversity: Trevor Kitchin, Food Safety General Manager

Trevor manages an integral department—food safety—and does so with an international team. Together they speak five languages. To ensure everyone is clear on the many details they must master, Trevor has become an expert in communication. A gentle soul, he is patient and takes the time to huddle frequently with his team so that all policies and procedures are understood and executed. He makes a point to make everyone feel welcome and respected.

Integrity in All We Do: Amy Bui, Wholesale Sales Manager

Few know Macrina’s products like Amy Bui does. She’s grown up with them. Her father is Phuong Bui, our Head Baker, and longest-tenured employee. Amy first started coming to Macrina to visit her dad when she was three. Now, all grown up, Amy heads our wholesale sales team. She builds and maintains trusting relationships with our customers through integrity— of product, of communication, and of her word. Additionally, her savvy command of technology has elevated the efficiency of our sales team.

Derby: Inspired Comfort Food, Unique Setting

Located inside a Sodo club for car lovers, the restaurant Derby offers a great bar scene and excellent food. 

The food isn’t served on the hood of a Ferrari, but you’d be excused for remembering it that way. The Shop, a club for gearheads, houses the upscale comfort food restaurant Derby. The spacious, sleek dining area has broad windows opening onto rows and rows of exquisite vehicles gleaming in the clean, well-lit garage. While that’s unique, it’s hardly the best reason to visit Derby. Come for the food (and leave with Lamborghini dreams).

Executive Chef Nick Taseris serves the kind of food your mother might have made if she was a professionally-trained chef that sourced high-quality meats and produce from the Pacific Northwest. Take, for example, their Bad-Ass BLT. It’s served on lightly toasted Macrina sourdough, with thick slices of good tomato, just-ripe avocado, lettuce—and the namesake Bad-Ass Bacon. Not only is this probably not how your mother referred to her bacon, but it’s also nothing like the bacon most of us grew up eating. Derby gets the meat cut in quarter-pound strips from a ranch in Pendleton, Oregon. Nick and his crew coat it in a house-made cayenne-maple glaze, slow-roast it, drizzle it with maple syrup and sprinkle it with Maldon salt. It’s thick, rich, and bursting with salty-sweet flavor. And, yes, you can order a side of the bacon all day off the happy hour menu.

Raised in Texas, Nick brings some of that Lone Star smokehouse know-how to the cuisine. The beef brisket, pastrami, and corned beef are smoked in-house, low and slow, and the tender meat is served in generous portions. You won’t go wrong with the Pastrami Reuben on Macrina’s rye bread, or the Brisket Sandwich served with bbq sauce.

And as with any pub-style fare worth racing for, the burger better be good enough to land pole position. Derby’s is a winner. A Macrina Brioche Bun, topped with sesame seeds, is slathered in Derby sauce (horseradish-infused aioli) and holds a hefty patty topped with American cheese, red onion marmalade, house-made pickles and a thick slice of good tomato. The medium-cut fries are crisp with a light, fluffy interior. You won’t leave hungry.

For those inclined to lighter fare, the Cobb, Chicken Caeser, and Steak salads do not disappoint. The dinner menu builds on the lunch menu to offer a few hearty entrees, including a pasta, crab cakes, and a smoked meatloaf. For those with a Maserati metabolism, Derby’s poutine has a Texas inflection with their house-smoked brisket and red-eye gravy. Order one to share. Or if you’re in that YOLO state of mind—indulge. You can always retire to the heavy leather sofas and chairs in Derby’s lounge for an after-dinner bourbon and another lingering gaze at the two and four-wheeled beauties preening in the garage.

Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Dinner Wed–Sat 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Sun–Tues 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Brunch Sat, Sun 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Happy Hour Menu Daily 3 p.m.– 6 p.m.