Results tagged dessert from David Lebovitz

Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer

Now that everyone out there’s been churning up ice cream, I’ve been getting a certain amount of questions about homemade ice cream, which I’m going to answer here over the next several weeks.

I’m going to start with the number one question folks have been asking: Why does homemade ice cream gets harder than commercial ice cream in their freezer? And what can be done to prevent it?

Salted Butter-Caramel Ice Cream

While I do address this in The Perfect Scoop (pages 5 and 16), I thought I’d list some strategies here as well. I don’t necessarily follow these all the time, but thought I’d put them out for readers to ponder and use as they see fit.


Alcohol doesn’t freeze, which you know if you’re anything like me and keep a bottle of Zubróvka vodka chilled and ready in your freezer. You can add up to 3 tablespoons of 40 proof liquor to 1 quart (1 liter) of your frozen dessert mixture prior to churning. I use vodka if I don’t want the taste of the liquor to intrude on the flavor, but will switch to another liquor such as Grand Marnier or Armagnac to enhance the original flavor if it’s compatible.

If my mixture is fruit-based, I prefer to add kirsch, a liquor which enhances the taste of stone fruits, like peaches, plums, nectarines, as well as berries. Generally-speaking, I’ll add enough so the taste isn’t very present, often less than a tablespoon.

For sorbets and sherbets, a glug of Champagne, white wine or rosé is nice with fruit flavors. 1/2 cup (125 ml) can be added per quart (liter) of mixture prior to churning. Or if the recipe calls for cooking the fruit with water, substitute some dry or sweet white wine for a portion of the water; the amount will depend on how much of the wine you want to taste. (Most of the alcohol will cook out but enough will remain to keep your sorbet softer.)


Like alcohol, sugar doesn’t freeze which is why you shouldn’t futz around with recipes and just reduce the sugar willy-nilly. Almost all frozen dessert recipes use white granulated sugar, however you can replace some or all of the sugar with another liquid sweetener, namely honey or light corn syrup.

Continue Reading Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer…

Crisp Topping Recipe

Crisp Topping

There’s something about a warm fruit crisp with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream melting alongside that most people are unable to resist. And who doesn’t love pulling that heavy baking dish, fragrant with the aroma of sweet seasonal fruit, out of the oven, with the rich fruit juices bubbling, with the heavenly smell of the buttery, nutty topping?

Really, what’s not to like?

Well…the dart-in-the-butt is that if you let it sit for any length of time, what you’re left with is a baking dish of fruit topped with solidified mush. And that, my friends, is what’s not to like.

So I came up with a plan—To put the crisp back in crisp topping.

Ever since I came up with this recipe, it’s become the only one I use and is a summertime staple around chez David. Even though there’s perhaps nothing easier to prepare in a moment’s notice, I like to keep a batch in the freezer for an impromptu fresh-fruit crisp, so you can easily double the recipe and freeze Part deux for the next time.

Continue Reading Crisp Topping Recipe…

Pastry Chef Sherry Yard

With all due respects, the first time I met Sherry Yard, I was squirming in my seat. I was sitting in the originally Spago, in West Hollywood, overlooking the city of Los Angeles. The room was filled with celebrities, but I remember getting special treatment.

I arrived in my best; a well-tailored Italian wool suit that I hoped made me fit in a little better with all the glamorous types seated all around me. It was a great meal, and we were having a wonderful time. But the longer I sat in the stylish chairs, the most uncomfortable I was becoming. It wasn’t that I felt out of place. It was that my rear-end was starting to itch uncontrollably.

I knew that I shouldn’t stand up and engage in an all-out scratch-fest (although nothing would have felt better), but I didn’t know what to do. The longer I sat, the more intense it got. The wool in combination with the padded chairs was driving me nuts!

But soon enough, it was time for dessert, the cavalcade started. Sherry starting bringing out all sorts of wonderful things; tastes of hand-dipped dark chocolates, puckery lemon tartlets, and twists of crackly caramel that were so stunning, all these hot-shot celebrities starting looking at me.

But miraculously, as I started to spoon up and savor all these desserts, the itching subsided and each dessert was more delicious than the next. That was the first time we met and I was charmed at what a genuinely lovely and funny person Sherry is.


A few years later, Sherry moved over to Wolfgang Puck’s newer Spago restaurant, located a few miles away in swanky Beverly Hills which replaced the original. Since we were pastry-pals, Sherry and I run into each other every now and then over the years; her vivacious personality is infectious and I don’t know anyone who’s more enthusiastic about what she does than Sherry. And if you talked to her for a few minutes, as I recently did, you’d see what I mean…

David: Every time I talk to you there seems to be something new and fabulous going on in your life. After all, being the pastry chef at Spago in Beverly Hills makes you the pastry chef to the stars. Plus you make the dessert for the big Oscar dinner every year.

Who are some of your favorite celebrities that you’ve cooked for?

Sherry: I guess you can say them all, from David Lebovitz to Presidents.

David: Thanks for the flattery, but compared to Madonna and Andy Dick (ick!), I’m a rube. But I loved celebrity-watching and Spago is the best. I one stood next to Shaq O’Neill there and his feet were huge! But your boss is a bit of a celebrity too. You’ve been with Wolfgang Puck for a long time as his executive pastry chef.

How’s it been working with him, and what’s he like as a boss?

Sherry: At the 2000 Bon Appétit Awards, Barbara Fairchild introduced Wolfgang Puck as my boss. His response, with a chuckle, when he walked up to the mike was “Anyone that knows Sherry knows she is my boss!”

David: He’s actually quite funny, and works very hard too, which I think is because he was trained as a chef from a really early age. I also like that he gives ample credit to the chef’s in his restaurants, and they tend to stay with him for a long time.

I love the desserts you make. They’re always so contemporary, with clean, modern tastes yet grounded in traditional pastry techniques. I remember a Concord Grape Gelée that you made, enrobed in dark chocolate that was exceptionally good.

Continue Reading Pastry Chef Sherry Yard…

Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand

For your convenience, here’s links to the four posts for Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand:

Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 1
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 2
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 3
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 4
And my entry, Chocolate Idiot Cake


Chocolate Cake Recipe

The word ‘consulting’ always sounds like a dream job when you’re stuck working in a restaurant kitchen, slaving over a hot stove, on the line. As a consultant, it sounds like you sweep into a kitchen, where the staff welcomes you with open arm as their savior, and you magically transform the meals coming out of the kitchen into extraordinary feats of culinary magic.


In fact, it couldn’t be more different. Restaurants call in consultants when they’ve exhausted all other possibilities, and the kitchen is in such dire trouble that they need to get some poor sucker from the outside to come in a try to fix what they’ve screwed up. The pay seems great, until you walk in the kitchen and realize no one wants to talk to you, no one wants you there, and worse, no one wants to change anything, since it means more work for them (and if they really cared about their work, they wouldn’t have had to call in someone from the outside in the first place.)

I was once a consultant for a corporation that owned several prominent restaurants. It took me about 5 minutes to figure out that one of their major problems was that there were a lot of high-paid executives sitting in meetings upstairs, while there were a lot of low-paid people downstairs, in the kitchen, putting the food on the plate. And let’s face it: Customers don’t care about executive meetings, they care about the food.
And that’s basically it.

When I mentioned this discrepancy to the high-paid executives (who hired me to tell them things like that…right?) we had another round of meetings, discussing things for hours and hours, until I told them I couldn’t sit through any more meetings since I had work to do in the kitchen. (Stupid me! What was I thinking? Those meetings were totally cushy. Why slave over a hot stove? Maybe those executives weren’t so wrong after all…)

Continue Reading Chocolate Cake Recipe…

Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Welcome to Sugar High Friday #27!

You might be saying, it’s not Friday yet, David!

To be honest, I was blown away by the amount of entries and the quality of responses, and decided to start the round-up early in the week to get them all in. Thanks to everyone who participated and although I tried to leave comments on many of your blogs, time didn’t always permit me to, so I thank you all here and now.

So, dear readers, here’s the chocolate entries, based on the theme I chose: Chocolate By Brand. Bloggers made chocolate recipes, including an infinate variety of cakes, cookies, creams, and candies, using a particular brand of chocolate and talked about why.



Veronica at Kitchen Musings was a double-dipper and made Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes X2, two recipes from two cookbooks…using two chocolates! One recipe with ScharffenBerger and the other using Valhrona.
If you like lots of lick-able chocolate frosting, you’ll love ‘em both.


Over at Winds and Breezes, Treasa used Lindt 70% chocolate for a scrumptious-sounding Chocolate Cake, with chocolate she brings back from France every time she “sets foot in the place.”
(The French are wild over Lindt chocolate, as you’ll see in other entries, and apparently so is Treasa.)


It’s a Rocky Road over at Sui Mai, who used Cailler dark chocolate to bind together marshmallows, almonds, and dried blueberries. And where did she get the chocolate she used? And why did she use that one?
The plot thickens…like her chocolate…


In the Très facile category comes Chocolate Hazelnut Madeleines from Marie-Laurie of Autres Delices using Nestlé chocolate.
Her tiny, shiny, shell-shaped little cakes would make Proust proud!


My Franco-American compatriote stateside, Béa falls for chocolate with a petite Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Cake with Chocolate-Ginger Mousse, infused with ScharffenBerger cocoa powder and Valhrona‘s Manjari chocolate.
Although it seems pretty fancy-pants, Béa makes it all look so easy, mais oui!


Check out Orange-Flavored Milk Rice with White Chocolate Icing from Nemisbéka in Hungary, which her dessert will make you, especially when you see how she uses both Nestlé Caramac bars and Milka hearts from Switzerland.


Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Roll by Kristin at Dine and Dish, with a heady suspicion of Grand Marnier. Like her chocolate cake roll, Kristin got so light-headed on chocolate she forgot to note which brand she used. When she came back down, she noted it was San Francisco’s Ghiradelli.


Claudia at Food For Food made some very tasty-looking Chocolate Honey Caramels using Valhrona chocolate. Even though she claims the recipe was supposed to be difficult to make, she did an admirable job, as you’ll see…


Across the border in Umbria, Judith at Think On It! got over her aversion to chocolate (!) to participate, and added some chilies to the spun sugar to give it an extra kick. Check out her dessert, simply titled Hot Silk, made with Valhrona, which she says makes everything, including stuff on her other site, a little yummier.


Although the name One Whole Clove doesn’t make one normally think of chocolate, check out Lou’s sinful Boules au chocolat et au rhum. They’re enriched with Montignac 85% sugar-free chocolate, sweetened with maltitol, which she found at her local chocolate shop Cupidon.

Continue Reading Chocolate Dessert Recipes…