Cookbooks are the great equalizer — no need planning expensive trips to destinations with new or notable food experiences because if that place everyone loves has a cookbook then you can make (or bake) your own fun! While I visited San Francisco when I was a teenager, I haven’t made it back as an adult so, as a result I’ve never had the pleasure of walking into (any) Tartine Bakery. But, even so, one can’t deny the magic of opening this book and experiencing the essence of this place. I think what makes Tartine different than other bakeries is that what started over a quarter century ago, when Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson began baking together and selling goods at a Californian farmers market, is that they looked for the best ways to incorporate ingredients and bring out flavour. Experiment with the classic recipes and create something truly “Tartine.” What this newly revised edition of the Tartine cookbook allows is for home cooks to discover baking outside of the bland grocery store flours and delve into more interesting ingredients — buckwheat, Einkorn, rye, etc.). While I treasure my original 2006 copy of Tartine, I am pleased to bake from this newly updated and expanded edition — with 68 new recipes, along with 55 updated recipes there is so much to explore.
The recipes are arranged into seven chapters: 1) Breakfast, 2) Tarts, Pies, Fruit, 3) Cakes, 4) Cookies, 5) Pastries and Confections, 6) Holiday, and 7) Basic Bakery Recipes. I was also able to source all the ingredients at my local market or grocery store (I recommend taking the time to source a good, green-coloured matcha — the one I had didn’t quite produce the colour effect I was looking for). While discussing ingredients used in the recipes, I’ll take a moment to mention an additional section near the end of the book, On Grains, where Robertson explains the evolution of their bakery and how it’s intertwined with both technique and the quality of the flour used. There is a great respect for where they’ve come from but also for the present-day resurgence away from using or relying on all-purpose flour when so many other options are available.
Baking is all about sharing and celebrating the everyday (not just the milestones). So, it was with these recipes I’ve baked that I’ve tried to spread a little joy around. When a place becomes so famous it can feel a bit untouchable, but I think what this collection of recipes is the truest, humblest offering to home bakers. Though one of my dear friends rolls her eyes when I say that I’m not a baker (she feels that the pictures on my social media indicate otherwise), I’ll tell you right now: I’ve never felt like a baker. Most definitely a home cook but never a baker. It’s not that I can’t bake, I think I am never sure how the different techniques work together to produce a consistent outcome. And, while the recipes in the book seem challenging (they are, but in a good way), none of them are impossible. At times, the authors do a fine job of explaining how or why a recipe works. I also really appreciate that there are recipes for different occasions — from a quick nosh at breakfast to sophisticated holiday treats such as the Bûche de Noel.
After baking up almost ten recipes I can tell you that everything tasted wonderful and I was pleased with the results. Even though the cookbook is brimming with gorgeous new recipes I chose to bake an old favourite to start with — the Buttermilk Scones. They are one of my favourite recipes from the original cookbook and they baked up just like I remember: flaky and fine, and so delicious. Then I went straight for the Granola Bark recipe, which is not quite loose granola and not quite a granola bar but something in between. I loved how the recipe baked up: compact and firm! And, once the baking sheet full of granola gets broken into shard-like hunks you’re free to either enjoy the hunks or crumble up on cereal, yogurt, or whatever’s your fancy.
I was happy to share the things I was baking from Tartine Revisited because everything turned out so well! There’s a reason for this — one of the ways to ensure a consistent outcome when baking is to weight all your ingredients. And, while Prueitt and Robertson provide both volume and metric measurements I urge you to always use a digital kitchen scale. Speaking from experience, I know that my baking has improved since I started using a scale.
Whether it is a group of moms I meet for coffee, my daughter’s teacher, playdate kiddies, or my afterschool walking buddy everyone got to enjoy Tartine. The most impressive recipe I made was the Matcha Streusel Tart — from making the tart dough, almond cream, and streusel it seemed like a big job but what I found was that I could prep these different components over a couple of days so that on the final bake day it didn’t seem like such an insurmountable task. I filled mine with raspberries and plums and it was delicious and totally looked like something you’d buy at, well, a fancy bakery (like Tartine!). A bonus of trying this recipe was that I had extra dough leftover so I baked up some Jam Tartlets, which are a fantastic after school snack (I made the heart version for my daughter and the bear ones for my walking buddy and her darling kids). The perfect sweet, little bite (or two) after a long day of learning.
One of the new features of the revised edition is the inclusion of gluten free recipes (25 to be exact!). While it probably would have been helpful to add “gluten free” to the index to make it easier to find these recipes, they are there if you hunt them out. The gluten-free recipe I tried was the Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies and let me tell you that they are incredible! I absolutely loved the chewy texture with a bit of crunch (from the cacao nibs) and I found the dark chocolate/buckwheat pairing to be a good one. I shared some with my daughter’s teacher and the note she sent back told me she thought they were delicious!
Maybe what you’re wondering is if you need to buy the new Tartine: A Classic Revisited cookbook if you have the original version? My answer: own both! There is so much to love about both books and enough that is different so that I think you can justify having two. Not to mention that the Gentl + Hyers photos in the revised edition are magical! Whether you’re a novice or a master baker there are recipes to suit every urge and fancy. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from this book — the morning buns and croissants look amazing. Click on the link to see my dedicated Facebook post or my custom Instagram hashtag #eatworthytartine.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Raincoast Books and Chronicle Books for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.