- Paperback: 295 pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Updated edition (18 Sept. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607743655
- ISBN-13: 978-1607743651
- Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 2.2 x 25.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,420,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes Paperback – 18 Sep 2012
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"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."
Conde 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
If you already know David and love his simple, straightforward style and his full-flavored desserts, you ll be delighted to see his favorites polished and brought up to the moment.And if you re just discovering David s recipes, all I can say is Lucky you! This collection brings you the best of his best and hours of sweet pleasure.
Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours
David has put into his fantastic new book all of the ingredients that make him so great: 1 part talented pastry chef + 1 part comic + 1 part great writer. I m excited to try his best-of recipe collection!
Elizabeth Falkner, chef/owner of Citizen Cake and Orson and author of Demolition Desserts
From the Hardcover edition."
About the Author
David Lebovitz is a pastry chef, author, and creator of the award-winning food blog www.davidlebovitz.com. Trained as a baker in France and Belgium, he worked for twelve years in the pastry department at the famed Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. Room for Dessert, his first book, was an International Association of Culinary Professionals award nominee. He is also the author of The Sweet Life in Paris and The Perfect Scoop. David writes, blogs, and leads culinary tours from his home in Paris, France.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
This book is weighty, full of detailed advice and the wit we've come to expect from David's blog. Not all recipes are accompanied by photos but you feel so guided by his expert advice you can have every faith each dessert or biscuit will turn out just right.
Things I'm dying to try are: pumpkin cheesecake with pecan crust and whiskey caramel topping, orange cardamom flan and peppery chocolate-cherry biscotti. His style is an appealing fusion of sturdy American baking classics with French patisserie delicacy of detail and flavour.
There are some recipes reproduced from earlier David books although I understand these are difficult to buy or out of print. Ready for Dessert also has many new recipes so there's something for all fans but especially those coming from his blog who've not bought any of his books before.
The emphasis here reflects David's interest in iced and cold desserts as the most lenghty chapter is Frozen Desserts(32 recipes) with every conceivable flavour of ice-cream,sorbet, sherbet and so on. What's more they creep into every chapter, a couple of semifreddi have even managed to sneak into the cake section. Personally, I'm not into iced creations; I prefer to buy them ready-made. So most of the recipes are wasted from my point of view.
However, the book was redeemed for me by the chapter on Cakes (17 here). I love nothing better than a cup of tea and a piece of my own-make cake every afternoon. I have marked plenty that I want to make: Fresh Ginger Cake, Irish Coffee Cupcakes, Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candied Peanuts(might miss these out, bit too much gilding of the lily for my taste), Bahamian Rum Cake for starters.
There is an excellent glossary of ingredients and equipment, the recipes are very clearly set out and they really work.
However, unless like me you are happy with just the Cakes or are a big fan of iced desserts or a collector of David Lebovitz's books I suggest you consider whether this book is something you will like before you buy it.
Quite frankly, when this book's release was announced I was surprised. Lebovitz seems to have left the hustle of the big kitchen for a quiet life in Paris where he writes and offers culinary tours. He already had a string of successful and widely lauded cookbooks, some of which have become standards on many a baker's shelf. And his blog fanbase has grown steadily, suggesting a comfortable ex-pat existence in the City of Love. I've always viewed Lebovitz as a modern-day Julia Child. Proven creds, strong training, and a wit that wraps his recipes like taut butcher's twine. But his books aren't so far out of print that they aren't accessible. Even so, this was an opportunity for him to hone and update a few recipes and re-present them with gorgeous photography and a new lens - the lens of a wising elder.
David Lebovitz spent thirteen years in the Chez Panisse kitchen learning and teaching the craft of using local and seasonal ingredients in pastry. He is mostly field trained with some academic background, but has worked in a handful of San Francisco kitchens making a name for himself and his employers.
The reviews of this latest book have been largely favorable. Condé Nast Traveler called the book the "dessert genius David Lebovitz's opus." The Washington Post claimed "Lebovitz is solidly among the pantheon of modern bakers."
At just shy of 300 pages with 170 recipes covering cakes, pies, custards, frozen desserts, cookies and basics, this could serve as a base reference book. Again I compare it to Baking with Julia as a potential standard for any home baker. In my recipe testing I focused in on the three recipes held out as Lebovitz's favorites: Fresh Ginger Cake, Champagne Gelée with Citrus, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Each turned out just as expected with fresh, bold, but not flashy flavors. Each was easily doable for bakers of any level. And each was thoroughly enjoyed by my guests. I appreciated Lebovitz's inclusion of metric measures, in addition to the clunky cups and teaspoons. This little perk elevates the function of the book to one that allows professional chefs to use it as well. Yet this book is not without flaws.
The photography is from the award winning Maren Caruso. The photos are bright, vibrant and truly capture the texture of each dessert. The cover photo alone is enough to make me want to lick the page with the luscious chocolate cascading over the moist cake layers. But I want more. I confess, I always want more photos. And I recognize that photos are more expensive for the printers to produce, but it seems that the more complicated recipes are also the ones lacking pictures in this book. I also wanted more pictures of Lebovitz and his life in Paris since his life is as much of an interest to his fans as is his cooking.
And that critique carries forward into my second criticism, which is the lack of personality in the book. I was baffled by the number of reviews who talk about Lebovitz and his personality and character, as I saw so little of this in Ready for Dessert that I was disappointed. It is difficult to write a review in a vacuum and, with Lebovitz, his fans follow his blog and have read his memoir, The Sweet Life in Paris, so they may feel like they know Lebovitz fairly well. As someone who certainly knows Lebovitz, but wouldn't count himself as an ardent fan, I knew enough about his personality to say that it is only modestly included in the book. I felt at times as if he didn't want to take the time to give us an anecdote because you could find it in his other books. That paucity means that this is a cookbook, nothing more, nothing less. Don't expect the fun, wit, and adventure of his memoir. Simply expect a recipe with a brief introduction and a tip or two.
My final criticism is the lack of freshness. Here's a man who has defined his career by fresh ingredients, and his recipes feel... well, stale. The recipes are diverse in their breadth, and solid in their performance, but nothing that will prove to be exciting or unique. Having followed his blog from a distance I know that he has some innovative and exciting recipes and techniques, but for some reason they didn't make it into this book. The omitted recipe that is part of my regular repertoire is his super fast French Pastry Dough which (with my adaptation of his adaptation) allows me to have a pastry shell made and baked in less than 15 minutes. Ready for Dessert sticks to the safe classics, and with those the reader won't be disappointed.
Beyond those criticisms, Ready for Dessert is a solid book. Home bakers of all levels will appreciate the simple and sure recipes, while advanced bakers will take the foundations and whisk in their own personality. And just as many great musicians continue their careers after a Greatest Hits album, so too will David Lebovitz. His age too young, and his talents too great to stop now. I'll be waiting to see what greatness is yet to come, and in this meantime, Ready for Dessert will get nestled into an already crowded bookshelf.
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