No. 60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.
Know it or not, you're living through a golden age of San Francisco pastry. A generation of talented patissiers with the entrepreneurial urge is saying no to restaurant kitchens and working solo, in shops of their own or ― because this has always been a cold, cold city for the under-capitalized ― at pop-ups or farmers' markets.
Take Tell Tale Preserve Company's William Werner. The ex-Quince pastry chef has plans for his own shop, a space in Maiden Lane, and even an investor, but finds himself stuck on the fly strip of start-up bureaucracy. Thankfully, it hasn't kept Werner from firing up his stand mixer. Tell Tale sets up a stall twice a week at Ferry Plaza, stocks cases at Coffee Bar and Sightglass, and mans Trunk Show, a cafe pop-up-without-end at Big Daddy's Antiques, where you can score Werner's savory pop tarts and caramel-filled brownie sandwiches, jars of fruit curd and confiture au lait, a sort of dulce de leche. And on Tuesdays and Saturdays, usually ― Ferry Plaza market days ― Werner bakes the astonishing savory muffin he calls the Rebel Within.
It's the same Parmesan- and Asiago-cheese batter Werner uses for his savory cake, only studded with little nubs of Boccalone breakfast sausage and ― here's the astonishing part ― a whole Glaum Ranch egg, poached so delicately that its yolk oozes like thick hollandaise when you cut into it. How does he keep the egg from overcooking as the muffin bakes around it? "It's just calculating the bake so the outside cake is just cooked through," Werner says, "and it's a matter of cooling it down quickly. It's not as hard as people think." Of course, Werner also has a fancy oven ― a Rational CombiMaster ― that can both steam and bake at superlow temperatures. It's where he poaches the eggs first, for 5 minutes, before peeling and embedding them in batter.
Tell Tale Preserves Company: Trunk Show at Big Daddy's Antiques, 1550 17th St (at Wisconsin). The Rebel Within is available most Tuesdays and Saturdays at Trunk Show, and at Tell Tale's stall at the Ferry Plaza market.
Dishes in our series so far:
92: Goat tacos from El Norteño
91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu
90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha
89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar
88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline
87: Outerlands' levain bread
86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt
85: Gyro King's spinach pie
84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi
83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu
82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tart
81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée
80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle
79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña
78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe 77: Cheesecake from Zanze's
76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel
75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra
74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch
73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup
72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk
71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille
70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery
69: Plow's crispy potatoes
68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye
67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe
66: Nakaochi at Ippuku
65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer
64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut
63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah
62: Cotogna's roasted carrots
61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles