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Parisian Chocolate Desserts Class with David Lebovitz

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

David gets ready to start the demonstration.Friday night I attended the long awaited and sold out cooking demonstration and book signing by David Lebovitz at Draegers Cooking School in San Mateo. I’ve met plenty of tech bloggers, but David was actually the first food blogger I have met in person. David was extremely personable throughout the evening, joking frequently with the assistants and guests. Until David really got cooking, I had to remind myself I was at a cooking class and not watching a stand-up routine. At one point a guest asked if she could ask an unrelated question, and while she paused to choose the right wording, David quickly volunteered, “Briefs”.

A man of many contradictions
David Lebovitz.“I don’t really like sugary stuff,” David announced near the beginning of the class. David followed this confession with another shocker: he’s lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, proudly displayed at the edge of the counter were two of David’s cookbooks, The Great Book of chocolate and The Perfect Scoop. I bought an ice cream cook book from a lactose intolerant chef? Fortunately, David said he can still eat dairy, which has to be true given the sheer number of ice cream recipes in The Perfect Scoop.

The menu that made me forget about missing dinner consisted of:

  • Mocha Sherbet with Butterscotch-Pecan Tuiles and Fleur de Sel Almonds (the almond recipe is David’s favorite at the moment)
  • Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Orange-Cranberry Chutney, Olive Oil Ice Cream and Pear Granita
  • Chocolate and Confiture de Lait Brownies
  • Chocolate Chip Choquettes
  • Parsley Ice Cream with White Chocolate Sauce, and Raspberries and Strawberries with Cassis

Sensational Ice Cream
David confessed that an interviewer recently was only interested in discussing the unusual recipes in The Perfect Scoop and he was worried listeners wouldn’t realize there were more traditional recipe flavors in the book. Since I have already raved about the blackberry sorbet and lemon sorbet recipes from the book in past blog posts, it’s safe for me to mention the parsley ice cream he made for us because, well, it tastes like parsley. But like the strawberry basil mojito that Draegers served at the beginning of the class, the pairing of herb and strawberry played well together. The scoops of parsley ice cream were nickel sized and encouraged you to ration them with the raspberries and strawberries. This was a good example of David’s desire to create uncomplicated dishes with strong flavor combinations.

David struts his stuff with Draegers’ chef, Bill Hutton.Though not as outrageous sounding as the parsley ice cream, the olive oil ice cream proved to be quite nice. Yielding a delicate, fresh flavor, the olive oil ice cream struggled to compete with the rich Chocolate Soufflé Cake and Orange-Cranberry Chutney, both of which were delicious.

David’s anecdotes about living in Paris, life on a book tour, and having a popular blog were both entertaining and educational. We learned a lot about Parisian culture, much of which was humorous. Do you think David says funny things about Americans when he is in Paris?

Deliciously Light Lemon Sorbet

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Lemon Sorbet.Determined to make my own version of Buried Treasure, I doubled up on sorbets last week. I followed up a fantastic blackberry sorbet with this recipe for lemon sorbet. Both recipes come from David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop.

I was a little unsure of this recipe at first, given that my other recipe for Meyer Lemon Sorbet just about reverses the water to lemon juice ratio. How would this recipe with half as much lemon juice fair?

To my surprise, this sorbet was just fine with only 1 cup of lemon juice. It was lighter than the other lemon sorbet recipe I make (which I still love for the powerful lemon flavor) and is more suited to pairing with other foods. This was rather fortuitous since I wanted to combine it with the blackberry sorbet. The two sorbets marbled together were just divine and I can’t help myself from having seconds every time I have it for dessert.

For this batch I wandered off into the other room while the ice cream maker was running and when I came back it was more than ready. In fact, it was practically fluffy. My newer ice cream maker is more powerful than my old machine so it just plugged away rather than grinding and screeching when it was getting thick. Even with the limoncello I added, it was still fluffy—almost like snow. To remedy this texture I let the sorbet soften a little bit and worked with a spoon to smooth it out, returning it to a perfectly smooth texture.

One of these bloggers is doing his own thing
YouTube: Cookie Monster: One of these things doesn't belong.Unrelated, I am getting some pressure from a couple other bloggers, Lisa and Chris, to bring some chocolates to the next Lunch 2.0 event at Ning’s next week. Although warm weather conspired against me to make chocolate molds earlier last month, and various home improvement projects have strung me along through June, I still have 7 pounds of chocolate that I have to do something with. I’ve definitely been the oddball food blogger at past Lunch 2.0 events (it’s primarily tech-oriented), but it’s actually fun to say you are a food blogger when everyone else is geeking out. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to make me less of a geek. Apparently having any blog is pretty nerdy.

Ingredients for making Lemon Sorbet.

Add grated lemon zest to sugar and water.

Heat mixture until sugar is dissolved.

Add remaining water, lemon juice and limoncello to sugar syrup and chill in ice bath.

Once sorbet base is colder than 45° F, freeze in ice cream maker per your maker’s instructions.

Transfer lemon sorbet to dedicated container to ripen in freezer for several hours.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Lemon Sorbet recipe page.