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special edition: dessert with david lebovitz + giveaway

by anne

food and france go hand in hand, but add in an american pastry chef, a fantastic blog, a few books and a dose of great humor and you have david lebovitz. recently, i was lucky enough to spend a day with david where we met up to go shopping at one of my favorite markets, and made a delicious red wine raspberry sorbet from his new book, ready for dessert.  we had a blast putting together today’s special edition d*s video, and are so excited to share a little bit of our paris adventures with you today. we had too much great footage, so along with the recipe, you can find some more great one-on-one answers from david on cooking, his books, living in france and traveling with food in mind after the jump. {a huge thank you to david lebovitz, our amazing videographer christian wilmes, assistant sophie bocqueho, and kali vermes / studio vermes for use of their garden!!}anne

** for a chance to win one of two free copies of ready for dessert, leave a comment with YOUR favorite dessert and why you’d like to win this book in the comment section below! comments will be closed saturday, july 31st at 10am EST sunday, august 1st at 10am EST. winners will be announced monday!**

CLICK HERE for the full recipe and interview with David after the jump!

Red Wine-Raspberry Sorbet
Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed) by David Lebovitz

1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
1 bottle (750 ml) fruity red wine
3 cups raspberries (about 400 g)

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water, and red wine to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil for 1 minute.
2. Remove from the heat, add the raspberries, and cover.
3. Let steep for 1 hour.
4. To remove the seeds, force the berry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve with a rubber spatula or pass it through a food mill fitted with a fine disk. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
5. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip: You can use frozen raspberries in this recipe. No need to thaw before adding to the warm wine.

To accompany our sorbet, David and I enjoyed some chouquettes from the boulangerie. If you don’t have a boulangerie nearby, David shares a recipe HERE on his blog.

{we had too much to share in the video so we want to give you a bonus interview below!}

anne: Today’s recipe is from your new book, Ready for Dessert. Can you tell us a little about this project?

david: The book is a compilation of my all-time favorite recipes, ones that I’ve been making for years and years, the cakes, cookies, ice creams, crisps and cobblers that I turn to over and over.

Ready for Dessert includes recipes from my first two books (which sadly, are out of print), which I completely updated and re-tested, plus all-new recipes that I came up with for the book. I also couldn’t resist adding a few of the most popular recipes from my blog.

anne: Your blog first started as a website in 1999. Very impressive. You must have been one of the first in your industry – what made you start it?

david: I started the site when my first book (Room for Dessert) was released, so that I could be in touch with readers of the book. I would manually post stories and pictures, changing the content a few times a month, and had forums where people could ask baking questions. Back then, there was no blogging software (at least that I was aware of) but around the time I moved to France, blogging platforms had come into existence and once I installed one on my site, I could easily update my site much more often. And away I went…

anne: How has your blog influenced the way you cook and what you’re doing? Do you think you’d be where you are without it?

david: Since the blog is a dialogue with readers, when I write recipes, I do so with a very broad audience in mind. I’m mindful of using exotic ingredients or techniques, and try to present recipes that have wide appeal and that are easy to recreate in a home kitchen.

Because of the instant feedback I get, I do have to anticipate questions, such as substitutions and how to meet various dietary needs. So as an author, it’s been interesting to get direct responses from readers, which has changed the way I write recipes.

anne: First and foremost you’re a chef, but you’re also an extremely talented writer and photographer. Were those things you were always good at or just fell into?

david: Thanks for the kudos, although I think I just write and take pictures as an extension of the recipe or the story I’m telling. For example, when making a recipe for the site, I’ll just snap some pictures of the process, and insert them into the post. I try to shoot food as I see it, and don’t usually use a zoom lens or anything like that. Living in Paris, I like to show the ingredients either at the market or in their packages, since they’re so interesting. And because there are no space limitations, I can show steps of the process as I am going.

As for writing, I just write as I think and as I speak. The blog is basically a conversation and when I write for it, I speak to readers as I’d speak to someone face-to-face. The main thing when writing for a blog is not to hold back; I will write about anything, from churning up a batch of bittersweet chocolate ice cream, to scratching my head when the teller at my bank tells me they don’t have any change that day and to come back tomorrow.

anne: I must say I’m a huge fan of your book The Sweet Life in Paris and each chapter has me laughing out loud. I especially love the chapter about your tiny kitchen and how you joke that your entire apartment is the size of an American kitchen. What does this mean in terms of your cooking? Does it make you more creative?

david: Having a small kitchen means you have to be concise. You can’t have a battery of fancy equipment or ingredients, simply because you don’t have the room. So you only have what’s necessary. I tried to live without a stand mixer for a year, then I realized I couldn’t, and finally got one. (Which takes up one-third of my kitchen, but we’ve learned to co-exist nicely. My ice cream maker, however, lives in my bedroom.)

I think it makes me a more practical cook, and I figure if I can make it in my small kitchen, people with ‘normal’ home kitchens shouldn’t have any trouble either. I also shop more frequently, buying fruits and specialty sugars and grains more frequently, and in smaller packages, which is a bit more time-consuming, but ensures that I always have a fresh supply at hand of flour, butter, and eggs.

anne: I love when you mention making the pharmacist brownies or giving the plumber ice cream. It seems a particularly efficient way to make things happen in France. Is this something you’ve always done?

david: Bakers are naturally people who share; I know very few people who make a cake or a big batch of cookies and keep them all for themselves. (Although I’m certain there are a few out there who do!) So I make cookies, cakes, and brownies and share them. I’m often testing recipes three or more times, and I’ll have baked goods around me in quantities that are dangerously too-readily available for snacking, so I’m always on the lookout for folks willing to take things off my hands so they’re safely out of reach.

In France, it’s a bit odd for someone to go into the drugstore and hand the pharmacist a bag of chocolate chip cookies and to stop in the fish market and give the young men who work there tubs of rich ice cream, which they can devour without any effect on their impossibly-trim waistlines. Needless to say, I get the freshest fish in Paris. And last time I went to the pharmacy with a foot problem, the pharmacist made me take off my shoes gave me a liquid that cleared everything up within 24 hours. Who says that customer service doesn’t exist in France?

anne: You are hands down one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. You have a great sense of humor yet share a lot about French culture at the same time. If you had to say something about living in France in 140 characters or less, what would you say?

david: I couldn’t possible condense everything I feel about France in 140 characters…which is why I had to write a whole book about it!

anne: You recently had a great post about your trip to Tunisia. I loved the tip that whenever you travel you find a café where you become a regular and part of the landscape and insider knowledge. Do you have any other travel/food related tips?

david: Always ask locals for recommendations. If you ask the person at the desk of your hotel, they’re going to send you to a place popular with tourists, who expect things to be comfortable and ‘safe’. Traveling, like moving to a foreign country, one has to get used to being outside of their comfort zone. One must be prepared for unusual experiences–like the time I thought I’d do like the local in Spain at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant I discovered, and order what all the locals were eating…which turned out to be a big bowl heaped with steaming tripe. And in Portugal, I was served a coiled up eel on the big round platter, with the head facing up, looking back at me.

You just have to be able to laugh at those experiences…and develop a tough stomach!

anne: Thanks so much, David!

David Lebovitz’s booksReady for DessertThe Sweet Life in Paris, Perfect Scoop, and The Great Book of Chocolate – can all be found online. David also shares tips to make ice cream and a guide to buy an ice cream machine on his blog.


{photos by kali vermes}

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  • what a great piece! as for favorite dessert, with the sweltering florida heat, it has to be this sorbet. how can you beat summer fruit meets red wine? as for why i’d love to win this book…david is brilliant in his simple and humorous approach to food. In a word, I want more (ok, in 3 words.)

  • I’ve gotten this book from the library and have really enjoyed it so far. I’ve tried the coconut cake and raspberry, peach upside down cake. Upside down cakes and other plain weekly cakes are my favorites to make and eat.

  • Really I love anything with chocolate, and my favorite dessert is dark chocolate cake with ganache and raspberry coulis sauce.

  • Definitely bread pudding with bourbon sauce. I’d love to add this to my cookbook collection since I don’t have any good dessert books!

  • My favorite dessert is gelato di crema, and I would love to win the book because I love The Sweet Life in Paris and The Perfect Scoop, and would love to add his new book to my collection!

  • mmm self saucing chocolate/orange pudding is always great in winter, but in summer blood orange sorbet with something like an almond praline for some crunch. I”m going to Paris soon and I’ve found the posts from David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan more helpful than any guidebook. The thing i am looking forward to most is the cheese!

  • My favorite dessert is toasted cinnamon ice cream with salted caramel sauce. It is especially good with toasted almonds on top. I would love to get this book because all of the recipes that David has are wonderful!

  • I’d love to win this because I love cookbooks, especially the baking and dessert varieties!

    Currently, I’m obsessed with making all things frozen. Sorbets, froyos… my favorites so far are strawberry balsamic sorbet and dark chocolate cherry frozen greek yogurt. YUM. Basically my ice cream maker is my bff in the summer.

    So have no doubt I’ll be making this red wine raspberry sorbet tomorrow!

  • Mmmm well I have many. But one thats always a winner is Custard Tart with fresh Mangoes on top. Looks great and is really satisfying to make – the creamy custard with a hint of vanilla bean and gorgeous fresh fruit – yum

  • I’m the type to have dessert first, it’s so hard to choose my fave! In the summer, I love desserts with seasonal fruit, so right now it is blueberry crumb bars. I’ve been reading David’s blog for years and would love to have this book!

  • I love too many desserts to pick an absolute favorite but one great cookie that comes to mind is the russian tea cookie. It looks like nothing much, at least the ones sold at Whole Food, but they are really fantastic. I was inspired to make them and they were equally delish.
    I would treasure a copy of the book because I don’t have it yet and I enjoy reading David’s blog. If I win I promise to put the cookbook to good use.

  • My favorite dessert is macarons! I’ve been obsessed with making them for several months now. I would love to win this book because I always turn to David Lebovitz’s recipes when I want something that will turn out right (but I have no money to spend on recipe books right now!)

  • Favourite desserts seem to change capriously depending on what’s on offer! But I can’t imagine ever turning down a trifle (especially one made by my mum) or a creme brulee. Would love, though, to have a lovely shiny new cookbook to broaden the repertoire…

  • i’m a sucker for a good new york style cheesecake, particularly if there’s a raspberry reduction nearby!

  • I love green tea ice cream! I made one from the recipe I found in The Perfect Scoop and it was tres yummy!

  • tiramisu and all things dark chocolate!

    mmm and that cake on the cover is sure to be a favorite soon…

  • Cookies and milk are my all time favorite. I would love to win this cookbook so I could learn to make other desserts! Chocolate is a basic food group in this home.

  • I love dark chocolate gelato or chocolate chip cookies with milk. I’d like the book so I could try other recipes!

  • My husband makes the world’s best Lemon Delicious – which is sort of a cake and sort of a custard and a whole lot delicious (hence the name I guess!). He makes it with various citrus all in together as well – very very seductive. It’s super quick to make which is nice it you are a wifey often struck by food whims……

  • Favorite dessert of all time…fruit cobbler…with any fruit in season! I’ve made it with apples, berries, peaches and even mango /pineapple. It’s an easy but delicious dessert to make on a whim, with kids and while even camping!
    Pick me to win a copy of Ready for Dessert S’il vous plait!!! I loved reading David’s A Sweet Life in Paris novel, enjoy his blog immensely, and I’m saving up to purchase his cookbooks . Winning this would allow me to use the money I’ve saved to purchase the ingredients to make the delicious treats that I’m sure the book has to offer!

  • I live in Marseille and my favorite dessert is faisselle, which is a chilled white cheese, sometimes served with fruit. I’d like to win this book because I love making desserts … I even took an advanced pastry class during my last holiday.

  • Good ol’ creme caramel.
    I’d love to have David Lebovitz’ new book because “Ready for Dessert” sounds like a good first recipe book to own :) I’m always ready for dessert.

  • favorite dessert ? cheescake, dark chocolate mousse with raspberries, chocolate fondant cake, summer berries with sorbet…. I love desserts ! I’d love to receive this book because I’m a recipe’s book addict !

  • Favorite dessert? Chocolate-Apricot Torte from “The Village Baker’s Wife”. Your interview with David introduced me to your site. Where will the book lead?

  • well……I like any type of dessert…I have never met something sugary, buttery, or carb-y, that I didn’t like….

    right now, if I was forced to choose a dessert, it would be a cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake…

    or a boston cream pie…

    or 32 layer chocolate hazelnut crepe cake (I made it once, took forever to make, took seconds to eat, amazing)

    or anything with a super soft buttery cake with a berry filling and a buttercream frosting with coconut….

    or just a plain white chocolate macadamia nut cookie…with milk for dipping…

    or a cranberry pear charlotte….(sad story about that, I made it once for thanksgiving, took forever to make and as i was taking it out of the oven with one hand….it flipped over on the oven lid, ruining all of them, but the one i manage to scrounge up, was delicious!)

    or deep fat fried ice cream sandwich…never had one, never even heard of one before, but doesn’t it sound amazing?

    I could use a new book of dessert recipes, and if I win, I promise to always use both hands to take anything I make out of the oven…

  • My favorite dessert? That’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite. I love them all! It just depends on my mood. Some days it’s the perfect slice of chocolate cake, others its pie, then there are crisps and crumbles, and don’t even get me started on homemade ice creams!
    And because David’s book covers it all, I must have it! :-)

  • I so should NOT have read these comments in the morning…my taste buds are tingling! Favourite dessert…as well as EVERYTHING that has been mentioned above, my favourite has to be good old reliable carrot cake!

  • Do have to pick one? My favourite at the moment would be fruit tart with almond cream but there might be a new favourite in David’s book. I would need to test them all.

  • That’s a tough one to pick, but I guess chewy chocolate chip cookies are my fav. I’d love this book, it would bring me lots of baking adventures :)

  • Mmm.. favourite dessert would have to be a chocolate trifle (with chambord!).

    I’ll love to win the book because I’m in the midst of writing a Master’s thesis and making desserts with David would be the best escape I could imagine at the end of a long writing day!

  • My favorite summer time dessert is a lemon lavender mousse, it’s so refreshing without feeling heavy.

    I’d love to win David’s book because I have nothing in my dessert repetoire. I’m pretty sure David’s book would remedy that pretty quickly.

  • My favourite dessert is florentines drizzled with some chocolate, and served with some nice creme catalana or something like that :)

    I want David’s book because I can’t find it here in Dubai :( And ordering through Amazon is sometimes painful since they have weird rules here, brought into action as and when they please.

  • Lucky you, visiting David in Paris! AND Dessert? How fabulous! My favorite dessert is homemade mint sorbet!

  • Chocolate Cookies- they are the ultimate comfort food :)

    With David’s book, I hope to learn more and share the love with more people!

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