Ready for Dessert, by the always entertaining and informative David Lebovitz, is now out in paperback. We’re always ready for dessert!
Pastry chef David Lebovitz is known for creating desserts with bold and high-impact flavor, not fussy, complicated presentations. Lucky for us, this translates into showstopping sweets that bakers of all skill levels can master. In Ready for Dessert, elegant finales such as Gâteau Victoire, Black Currant Tea Crème Brûlée, and Anise-Orange Ice Cream Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce are as easy to prepare as comfort foods such as Plum-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake, Creamy Rice Pudding, and Cheesecake Brownies.
With his unique brand of humor—and a fondness for desserts with “screaming chocolate intensity”—David serves up a tantalizing array of more than 170 recipes for cakes, pies, tarts, crisps, cobblers, custards, soufflés, puddings, ice creams, sherbets, sorbets, cookies, candies, dessert sauces, fruit preserves, and even homemade liqueurs. David reveals his three favorites: a deeply spiced Fresh Ginger Cake; the bracing and beautiful Champagne Gelée with Kumquats, Grapefruits, and Blood Oranges; and his chunky and chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. His trademark friendly guidance, as well as suggestions, storage advice, flavor variations, and tips will help ensure success every time.
Accompanied with stunning photos by award-winning photographer Maren Caruso, this new compilation of David’s best recipes to date will inspire you to pull out your sugar bin and get baking or churn up a batch of homemade ice cream. So if you’re ready for dessert (and who isn’t?), you’ll be happy to have this collection of sweet indulgences on your kitchen shelf—and your guests will be overjoyed, too.
Paris biased writer, gastronomic tour guide, and pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.
You’ve written about the trials and triumphs of living in Paris. How is
the city treating you these days?
-Like any city, Paris has it’s ups and downs. This year posed some challenges but the upside is that there’s no shortage of chocolate when the going gets rough!
Any advice for people often who say they love to cook but are
intimidated to bake?
-Baking is easy since there is no guesswork to it: 1 cup of sugar is 1 cup of sugar. You pour the sugar in a measuring cup and add it. When you cook a steak or make a soup, you have to taste and evaluate as you go along. I like to keep baking recipes simple and straightforward. One reason I wrote my book, Ready for Dessert, is because those are my all-time favorites, the desserts I go back to again-and-again. I wanted to share my personal recipe file, which I’ve been making for years. The recipes are fool-proof at this point.
What was the writing process like for this book?
-There’s no shortage of inspiration in Paris; it’s just hard for me to get everything I want to say down on paper! The combination of writing, testing recipes, baking, and getting all the details in a book is a process. But once done, it’s a great feeling to hold the actual book in my hands.
Where do you find inspiration?
– Paris is pretty good at giving me material. I can find something to write about if I visit the market, try a new restaurant, or just go for a walk.
What are you working on now?
-Another book, as well as my blog, which I love because I can write anything I want and publish it instantly.
“Lebovitz’s chatty, down-to-earth tone is sure to steady any rattled nerves as you turn the oven on and get the measuring cups out. And for seasoned cooks and bakers, Lebovitz’s recipes are classics worth revisiting.”
—Epicurious.com, The Best Cookbooks of 2010: Best Dessert
“David Lebovitz, blogging phenom and former pastry chef at Chez Panisse has written several cookbooks, but this might be his best yet. It’s a compilation of all his favorites–from ice cream to cookies to cake and fruit desserts. You will also enjoy the notes with each recipe that tell stories, share tips and often produce giggles. Why? You’ve read his blog, and probably tried his recipes for free. Now it’s time to pay the man!”
—Cooking with Amy, Top Cookbooks 2010, 12/18/10
“If there’s one person you can trust to write a good recipe, it’s David. My copy of Ready for Dessert is already dogeared and vandalized with all manner of sweet ingredients. His chocolate chip cookies are my go-to and his ice creams, for which he is well-known, are all outstanding. The man worked as as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse then moved to Paris. Need I say more?”
—TheKitchn.com, Favorite Baking Books of 2010, 12/16/10
“And finally, I want to mention a book from earlier in the year, highly recommended if you’re looking for a sweets book: Ready For Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz who writes the excellent and popular blog, “Living the Sweet Life in Paris” at DavidLebovitz.com. This is a compendium of his favorite recipes that he’s reworked and rewritten. As ever, superb and recommended.”
—Michael Ruhlman, Books for the Holidays, 12/13/10
“You’ll want to make everything in this book.”
—Washington Post’s Top Cookbooks of 2010, 11/30/10
“An elegantly-composed collection of classics and contemporary riffs, former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz’s (The Perfect Scoop) latest effort hits the sweet spot. Artfully balancing accessible recipes for novices (the simple four-ingredient Chocolate Orbit Cake, the three-ingredient Peaches in Red Wine and Pistachio, Almond and Dried Cherry Bark) with ambitious-but -worth-it desserts like Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candied Peanuts and White Nectarine Sorbet with Blackberries in Five-Spice Cookie Cups, Lebovitz truly has something for everyone. Can’t-miss combinations like Guinness-Gingerbread Cupcakes, Cherry-Almond Cobbler, and Orange-Almond Bread Pudding are sure to inspire a trip to the market, and riffs on classics like a French apple galette (updated here with frangipane, a rich almond pastry cream) and a lush Fresh Ginger Cake will appeal to bakers whose bookshelves are already groaning with cookbooks. The inclusion of Coconut Layer Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream, Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies, and Gingersnaps (including a fat-free variety) shows that Lebovitz also knows when not to mess with a good thing. Given its breadth, depth, and accessibility, readers with a passion for baking will be hard pressed to find a better guide to desserts this year. Photos. (May)”
—Publishers Weekly, Web-Exclusive Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, 6/14/10
“Each section is more of a collection of surprises than a tour of the usual baking suspects you might find in a greatest hits sort of book by another author (cheesecake, muffins, angel cake etc.). There are unusual flavour combinations as well as intriguing takes on classic desserts.”
“Lebovitz brings his writing to life with wit and humor and offers expert advice on everything from cake to cutting boards. Plus, his recipes have that irresistible combination of simplicity and elegance.”
—Portland Oregonian, 6/1/10
“Life is short, always eat dessert first.” If you’re a follower of that profound precept or just the owner of an active sweet tooth, David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert is a must. . . . His header notes are chatty, his directions thorough and supportive and his take on the sweet side of life inspired and inspiring.”
—BookPage, Cookbook of the Month, May 2010
“Here’s what I love about this book. Lebovitz has gathered a selection of 170 recipes that is both complete and eclectic, including classics and innovations. David’s voice is candid, sometimes conspiratorial, often funny, and always enabling. It’s the same authentic voice that has made his blog one of the most popular food sites on the web. Enjoy the sweetness.”
—The City Cook, 5/27/10
“Ready for Dessert promises visceral satisfaction starting with the cover, which invites you to drag a greedy finger through a cake’s thick chocolate icing.”
—Associated Press, 5/17/10
“You know the real reason I love David Lebovitz so much and tell you about him over and over again? Because he’s a baking god. David’s new book, Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes is his best yet. . . . Now, I know that we’ll have this book in our house for decades, until the spine falls apart and we have to put it together with duct tape. I’m never letting go of this baking book because every single recipe works. It is one of the few baking books I will keep forever in our home. This is my baking bible now. You should buy it too.”
—Gluten-Free Girl, 5/11/10
“This is recipe writing at its best my friends.”
—In Jennie’s Kitchen, 5/4/10
” I have a sweet tooth for Lebovitz, a terrific writer and dessert whiz who has updated his favorite recipes for this lavish book. If you bake, do yourself a favor and buy this book.”
—Houston Chronicle, 5/4/10
“Lebovitz has outdone himself with his latest recipe collection, offering readers the very best of his best.”
“If you’re looking for a new best friend in the kitchen, one that’ll stay a best friend for life, Ready for Dessert might just be the one for you.”
“Part of David’s genius is the way he delivers the goods. He’s clench-your-legs hilarious but with a strong foundation of serious culinary knowledge. A rare gem in the ever-growing field of food writers — if you haven’t gotten to know his books yet, start with this one.”
—Apartment Therapy’s TheKitchn.com, 4/29/10
“With a bloggers tone and a skilled baker’s sensibility, pastry chef David Lebovitz shares his deliciously simple yet refined recipes in his latest cookbook Ready for Dessert. Sprinkled with endearing anecdotes, each recipe reveals Lebovitz’ compulsion with chocolate and seasonality. There’s a charming unfussiness about the book, which includes recipes like the flourless chocolate orbit cake, which was previously named the chocolate idiot cake for it’s easy-to-execute recipe. There are also some more involved recipes—like the kiwifruit, pineapple and toasted coconut baked alaska—making it a great book for beginners and experts alike.”
—Los Angeles Times, 4/28/10
“Flipping through our copy, we were entranced by fudgy smudges on the plate under his banana cake, seduced by the simplicity of his red-wine raspberry sorbet, curious about the impression his chocolate chip cookies made on Parisians, and desperate to taste his best-ever brownies.”
“This is the Lebovitz book that has it all: an elite selection of cakes, fruit desserts, custards, frozen desserts, cookies and candies that encompass all the techniques you’ll ever need to make dessert. The large-format color photos are ridiculously seductive and the design and tone of the book make you believe that your fresh ginger cake, banana butterscotch cream pie or tangy lemon frozen yogurt will taste as luscious as they look here. Based on my experience with Lebovitz’s recipes, they will.”
—Patricia Unterman, San Francisco Examiner, 4/23/10
“I think these just might be my new favorite chocolate chip cookie, sorry Thomas Keller but Lebovitz’s cookies have got yours beat.”
“This is the Slinky of cookbooks. I’ve been paging back and forth, back and forth, mesmerized, spurred on each time I land on a silvery endpaper. It’s an enticing, beautiful book with charm and know-how. But this book is not for a coffee table; I’d put it on a pedestal. . . . This book; buy it and bake the living daylights out of it.”
—AOL Slashfood.com Cookbook Spotlight, 4/16/10
“An absolutely gorgeous book filled with pages upon pages of recipes and photos that will motivate you to get in the kitchen and start baking.”
—SeriousEats.com Cook the Book, 4/12/10
“It’s a good sign for a new cookbook when the food-lovers at the table keep passing it around. . . David Lebovitz is one of a handful of authors whose books are pure gifts in the kitchen. . . . But the proof is in the pudding — in this case, that includes coconut tapioca, orange-almond bread pudding, and kumquat sticky toffee — and I find his recipes both unintimidating to prepare and impressive to eat.”
—Amazon.com Al Dente blog, 4/12/10
“This book is the perfect Starter Lebovitz, if you ask me; for those of you who’ve heard about him or read his blog and laughed at his jokes and comments but didn’t know which of his cookbooks to buy first. With this, he’s retested everything, added weights and pretty pretty photographs so you get a little taste of everything he does well without having to clear out an entire bookshelf to accommodate his awesomeness. (Though he’d like me to let you know that he does not mind one bit if you do that too.)”
“My copy of Lebovitz’s book is already stained (with coffee) from just looking at it. It’s the best type of food porn available: high production values (great recipes and gorgeous photography by Maren Caruso); a cast of stars (Chocolate Orbit Cake, Kumquat Sticky Toffee Pudding, Apple-Quince Tarte Tatin) that are hot, but not out of reach; and a writer who supplies, if not a story line, then enough anecdotes to keep me interested (The Racine’s Cake recipe was, after all, found written on a men’s room wall). It’s one sexy book.”
—Bay Area Bites, KQED.org, 4/9/10
“His headnotes are as bon-vivant engaging as his Tweets and blog. He proves that it is possible to bake and laugh at the same time. But more importantly, you’ll find that his best recipes are, in fact, your favorites as well. Lebovitz is solidly among the pantheon of modern bakers.”
—Washington Post, All-We-Can-Eat, 4/15/10
“Dessert Genius David Lebovitz’s Opus.”
—Condé Nast Traveler, 4/5/10
“A gorgeous new offering full of homey (Cherry-Almond Cobbler) and haute (Pistachio-Cardamom Cake) recipes.”
—Ladies’ Home Journal, LHJ.com, Ladies’ Lounge blog, 4/3/10
“Bring any of David’s desserts forward at the close of a meal, and you’ll have a hard time remaining humble under showers of praise. But what I especially like about David’s book, aside from the results his recipes promise, is David himself—that he and his desserts are so approachable, relaxed, and friendly.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm, and Market
“David’s recipes are always delicious and, even more importantly, fun and approachable. They’re the kind of recipes you make in a pair of comfortable sweatpants and a T-shirt. And by comfortable sweatpants, we mean the kind with an elastic waistband so you can eat more than just one slice of the heavenly Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candied Peanuts. David is our dessert idol and Ready for Dessert is our guidebook.”
—Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, pastry chefs and owners of Baked and authors of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking