Room For Dessert: 110 Recipes for Cakes, Custards, Souffles, Tarts, Pies, Cobblers, Sorbets, Sherbets, Ice Creams, Cookies, Candies, and Cordials


Always Save Room for Dessert

Especially if it's one of David Lebovitz's signature showstoppers. In his first cookbook, Room for Dessert, he offers more than 110 recipes for sweet everythings. You'll find sensational cakes, custards, soufflés, tarts, pies, cobblers, sorbets, ice creams, cookies, and candies, each designed to tempt the diner.

In the introduction David writes ...

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Always Save Room for Dessert

Especially if it's one of David Lebovitz's signature showstoppers. In his first cookbook, Room for Dessert, he offers more than 110 recipes for sweet everythings. You'll find sensational cakes, custards, soufflés, tarts, pies, cobblers, sorbets, ice creams, cookies, and candies, each designed to tempt the diner.

In the introduction David writes of one of his earliest dessert memories--a bowl of freshly picked blackberries, perfectly ripe, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of sugar. "When you search out the best ingredients, do as little to them as possible, and serve them in a straightforward way, the presentation follows naturally," he writes. "A glossy custard looks best with a, swirl of whipped cream; a cool tapioca pudding looks enticing when it's accompanied by its natural complements--tropical fruits and shaved coconut."

With such an aesthetic, David eventually made his way to Berkeley's legendary Chez Panisse, establishing himself as a pastry cook under the tutelage of Alice Waters and founding pastry chef Lindsay Shere. He shares, the Chez Panisse commitment to fresh, seasonal exceptional ingredients, presented simply and unpretensiously, at their peak flavor. As Alice Waters writes in the books foreward: "David is one of those rare pastry chefs who knows that in desserts, as in all art, the cliché is true: sometimes less is more."

After leaving Chez Panisse, Lebovitz served as pastry chef at Bruce Cost's critically acclaimed Monsoon, experimenting with a wide variety of Asian ingredients and flavors to create more remarkable desserts. Home cooks as well asprofessionals have been clamoring for the Fresh Ginger Cake recipe, which, finally, is published here. It so often appears at Bay Area restaurants that it's frequently listed on menus as "Dave's Ginger Cake." Make it once and you'll immediately want to add it to your list of tried and true standbys. David offers comforting yet sophisticated versions of everyone's favorites, including Gingersnaps, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Coconut Macaroons, surefire hits for people of all ages. For grown-ups, there are homemade liqueurs and cordials. Add to this delectable ice creams and frozen treats, as well as jams, preserves, and candied fruits, and you get an idea of the incredible scope of David Lebovitz's talents.

Beautifully illustrated with seventy-five full-color photographs by San Francisco's Michael Lamotte, Room for Dessert is as stunning to look at as it is to cook from. With this remarkable debut, David Lebovitz offers his expert hand to guide a new audience of readers and home dessert makers.

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Editorial Reviews

Flo Braker
David Lebovitz's distinctive desserts offer the best of both worlds—heavenly flavor combinations and down-to-earth techniques. Every page is rich with information which this fine pastry chef has gleaned for home cooks everywhere. Follow me: I can't wait to bake my way through this fabulous dessert book.
Marion Cunningham
Room for Dessert is my favorite kind of cookbook. It is a very personal collection of dessert recipes collected over many years by an extremely gifted cook/baker. This book is like having a teacher stand beside you as you make each recipe. It is a one-of-a-kind dessert book.
Nick Malgieri
Room for Dessert is a tempting collection of recipes that are beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. But more than that, this book is a distillation of all the experience of a gifted pastry chef and teacher who guides the reader through every technical step to achieve a glorious result. Room for Dessert is a winner!
Alice Medrich
David Lebovitz's charming and personal book is a wonderful addition to my kitchen library. Utterly delectable desserts for all seasons, great tips, and a liberal sprinkling of David's adventures at Chez Panisse.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060191856
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.65 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of the highly praised cookbook Room for Dessert, David Lebovitz was a pastry cook at Alice Waters's famed Chez Panisse restaurant for twelve years. Named one of the "Top Five Pastry Chefs in the Bay Area" by the San Francisco Chronicle, and nominated for an IACP/Kitchen Aid Award for Room for Dessert, David has been featured in such national publications as Bon AppÉtit, the New York Times, People, and Gourmet.

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Read an Excerpt

Coconut Cake

One 9-inch cake; 10 to 12 servings

1 (9-inch) round sponge cake

The Coconut Custard:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup plus 1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split
5 egg yolks
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

The Rum Syrup:
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum

The Whipped Cream:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unsweetened dried coconut, toasted

1: To make the coconut custard: Stir together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the milk with a fork until the cornstarch has dissolved.

2: Measure the 1 1/4 cups of milk and the sugar into a heavy saucepan.Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, add the vanilla pod, and warm over medium heat.

3: In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks; set aside.When the milk is hot, whisk in the slurry of cornstarch and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.

4: Whisk some of the thickened milk into the egg yolks, then add them to the rest of the mixture in the saucepan.

5: Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture just begins to boil and becomes very thick.Do not overcook.Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl.Remove the vanilla pod, stir in the coconut, and cool completely.Refrigerate until ready to use.

6: To make the rum syrup: Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.Remove from heat and add therum.

7: To assemble the cake: With a long serrated knife, slice the sponge cake horizontally into three equal layers.

8: Place a layer of sponge cake on a plate.Use a pastry brush to soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the rum syrup.

9: Evenly spread half the coconut custard filling, about 1/2 cup,on top of the sponge cake layer.Cover it with a second layer of sponge cake.

10:Soak the top of the second layer with another 1/3 cup of rum syrup.Spread the remaining coconut custard over the soaked sponge cake layer.Place the final sponge cake layer on top and soak with the rest of the syrup.If possible, allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

11: To make the whipped cream: Before serving, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, then whisk in the sugar and vanilla.

12:Use a metal spatula to coat the cake completely with the whipped cream.Cover the top and sides of the cake evenly with the toasted coconut by sprinkling coconut on top of the cake and pressing more around the sides with your hands.

Serving Suggestion: Serve hefty slices of this cake either by themselves or with a simple compote of tropical fruits and berries tossed in sugar and dark rum.

This is my recipe for the cake that I made every year for Alice Waters's father on his birthday. A week before that date, Alice would sidle up to me and ask, ever so politely, if I could possibly make this cake for him.I always obliged, of course: For one thing, I share his affection for this cake.It hasn't happened yet, but I wish someone would surprise me with one for my birthday.

This cake should be assembled the day before you plan to serve it, so the flavors have time to meld.It will also be much easier to slice.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

About 60 cookies

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter cut into pieces
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips

1: Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.Meanwhile, coarsely chop the walnuts.When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat.

2: In a standing electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar, and vanilla at high speed until they form a well-defined ribbon when you lift the whisk.Remove the whisk and attach the paddle to the mixer.Turn the speed to low, and mix in the melted chocolate mixture.

3: In another bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder, then add them to the batter.Add the chocolate chips and the nuts. Chill the dough until it is firm, at least 30 minutes.

4: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with your hands into three 10-inch logs, 2 inches in diameter. (If the dough is too cold and firm, wait until it becomes malleable.)

5: To bake the cookies, position the oven racks in the center and upper part of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6: Slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick cookies, and place them on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.Bake for about 9 minutes.Rotate the baking sheets and switch racks midway through baking.Once they have cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container.

Note:The logs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.These cookies can also be baked immediately without first chilling the dough and rolling it into logs: Drop the dough onto baking sheets in generous, evenly spaced tablespoonfuls.

These are the best chocolate cookies I've ever made.In order to bake them perfectly, you must watch them carefully and remove them from the oven while they are still shiny and molten in the center but cooked on the outer edges.Before you bake them all, you may want to bake one or two as testers to find out how fast they will bake in your oven.

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