Crumble & Flake Patisserie had barely been open a month when I had visited at the beginning of June. It’s amazing how quickly the word spreads when the quality of the products speak for themselves. The line up was already down the block about 40 deep when my friend C and I had arrived just 5 minutes after the patisserie had opened for business that Saturday morning. I would never have known about this place if it weren’t for my foodie friend Grayelf. She stumbled across a link for this new bakery as she was searching for another eatery in the Seattle area.
After a 45-minute wait, I was relieved that there were still some pastries left when I finally made it through the door into the patisserie. While standing in line, I had learnt from talking to the locals that since their opening, Crumble & Flake has sold out early every day and never made it to their posted closing time yet. Despite the tiny operation, they actually had a decent selection of pastries and baked goods in their two display cases.
Since everything looked so good, my friend C and I had a hard time deciding what to get. We ended up getting a bunch of pastries to share. We decided to start sampling the savoury items first. The first item we sampled was the Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Croissant ($3.75). As the name suggests, the croissant was filled with Spanish smoked paprika and cheddar cheese inside. The croissant was well-executed. It was flaky and soft. I did, however, find it to be a touch greasy because of the cheddar. But if you’re looking for a savoury croissant, this one is a sure bet.
Next up was the Fig and Olive Tapenade Roll ($3.50). The tapenade is made in-house with two kinds of olives, dried figs and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The brioche dough for this roll is the same as the one that they use for their cinnamon buns. I was really impressed with this roll. The brioche was flaky and soft while the filling was very savoury with a touch of sweetness from the fig. Even my friend C who normally isn’t a fan of olives loved this roll.
We then moved on to sampling the sweet pastries. The first sweet pastry we tried was the Kouign Amann ($2.75). The Kouign Amann (pronounced “queen ah-mahn”) is actually a specialty of the Brittany region of France. The texture of these round pastries are actually similar to croissants. They are made with salted butter, rolled in sugar, and baked until the outside caramelizes and turns crunchy. The Kouign Amann actually reminded me of a morning bun except without the orange and cinnamon. Personally, I found this Kouign Amann to be quite dense and would probably opt for a croissant instead.
Next up was the Canelé ($2.50). A canelé is a specialty from the Bordeaux region of France. The canelé batter is made from egg, sugar, milk and flour and is flavoured with vanilla and rum. They are baked in special little molds for a long time until the outside forms a dark, caramelized, crunchy, mahogany brown crust while the inside stays custard-like and moist. This canelé was very well-executed. It had a soft and tender custard center while the crust was caramelized and crunchy. One thing to note is that these canelés are only available on weekends only.
We then tried the Chocolate Croissant ($3.00). This was easily one of the best chocolate croissants/pain au chocolat that I’ve ever had. Personally, I liked this version from Crumble & Flake even more than the famous version from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. To me, this version was perfectly crispy on the outside while being flaky and soft on the inside. And it was not over the top rich.
Lastly, we sampled one of the Filled-to-Order Cream Puffs ($3.50). There are usually three or four flavors of creamy fillings to choose from. On this visit, the choice of fillings were vanilla, chocolate, and mango. Of course, since I’m a huge fan of all things mango, I chose the mango filling. Normally, I’m not even that big of a fan of cream puffs/choux pastry but this cream puff was exquisite. It was out of this world! The mango filling was creamy and luscious without being overly rich. And I loved the light and delicate texture of the pastry. The cream puff had a really unique topping similar to the topping of a Chinese pineapple bun. We loved it so much that we wished we had gotten more.
The mango-filled cream puff was so memorable that we actually went back again the very next day to get more because we couldn’t stop thinking about them. Normally, I’m not even a fan of line ups but these cream puffs were worth lining up for. The line up the very next day was just as bad if not worse. We ended up lining up for almost an hour before it was our turn. It was actually kind of stressful standing in line as I was worried they would be sold out by the time it was our turn. Luckily there were still a few cream puffs left. My friend C and I each got a couple of them to satisfy our craving. Without a doubt, this was the best cream puff I’ve ever had to date. Crumble & Flake is definitely on the top of my list for my next trip to Seattle. And as much as I hate line ups, I’m willing to line up for Crumble & Flake’s pastries.
Crumble & Flake Patisserie
1500 E Olive Way