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Room for Dessert
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October 1999  


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Room for Dessert

October marks the release of my book, Room For Dessert, which is now available nationwide. My book includes 110 recipes for cakes, pies, cobblers, ice creams, custards, candies and more...all intended for the home cook.

After working for almost 20 years as a baker and pastry chef, I've been asked countless times for my recipes, and Room For Dessert offers many of my most requested and most popular recipes (I wanted to call it "Dave's Greatest Hits" but humility got the best of me...plus my editor would have wisely nixed it!). You can take a look at the book by clicking on the title on the menu bar to the left, and also visit the link to the book at Amazon.com, where there's more information plus an author interview. Room For Dessert makes a great gift for yourself, or for your favorite baker or family member.

David LebovitzWelcome to my web site. Some of you are possibly visiting for the first time, since my web site address was printed on the jacket to my book. Please subscribe to the site by adding your email address to the field on the lower left (your email address is never distributed). Each month, I bring topics up that are of interest to bakers and cooks. In addition, I include recipes each month that are often inspired by a fruit in season, a new product, a small grower or whatever.

Many of the people who've seen Room For Dessert have been taken with the stunning photographs by Michael Lamotte. You can visit his new, in-progress site and see a gallery of his photographs, including those for other author's such as Alice Medrich and Emily Luchetti. Visit Michael at http://www.lamottestudios.com.

This month's Recipe of the Month was inspired by a delicious dairy product created at the Cowgirl Creamery in nearby Marin County. I am a real cheesecake fan and I like dense cheesecakes that, when scraped from the fork, leaves behind the distinct indentations from your teeth. This cheesecake is a bit rich and light at the same time because I developed it using Cowgirl Creamery quark; I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.

As a pastry chef, I've been having a long, long love affair with chocolate. Even though it's practically a cliché by now, I must confess that I really can't get enough of it. Even when I go out to dinner, I almost need to have something chocolate for dessert! Luckily for me, I have two friends who make chocolate right here in the Bay Area. John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg skillfully roast and blend up to 11 different beans and grind them into some of the best, darkest, most robust chocolate you will ever have. Sold in many well-stocked markets, Scharffen Berger Chocolate is available through their web site. I'll be doing a class with John at the Food For Thought store (see my schedule), and we're also hoping to do a few classes on the east coast in the spring of 2000.

Some of the things we'll be doing the class include;

Rocky Road with Homemade Marshmallows and Roasted Cocoa Nibs

Marbleized Chocolate Cups with Ginger & White Chocolate Ice Cream

Lindsey's Chocolate Pavé.

Most of us have rarely encounter citrons. Often we see icky little plastic tubs of them in stores, usually tinted green, and rather unpleasant to eat. However if you're lucky enough to have access to fresh citron, you'll find their fragrant peel is easy to candy yourself at home and can be used to flavor cakes, candies, preserves and in a traditional Panforte Di Siena. Unlike other citrus fruits, the pulp of the citron is useless for cooking as it is dry and tough.

Traditionally used to celebrate Succot, the Jewish holiday of the harvest, David Weisman's farm in Dallas sells the trees themselves as well as a variety of Esrog citrons; Chazon Ish, Temani, and Braveman, in sets of six.

Did you know that the US Post Office featured an Esrog citron on a postage stamp in 1997?

September marked the much-anticipated release of the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook. This lovely book, created by Alice Waters, has 200 of the most wonderful recipes that are served in the casual upstairs cafe at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. The book is generously designed and illustrated by by David Lance Goines who created the famous Chez Panisse anniversary posters every year for Chez Panisse.

Throughout the book are stories of the producers who play a critical role in the success of the restaurant by foraging, raising and growing the impeccable, superb ingredients that find their way into the Chez Panisse kitchen. From fresh, lively salads to hearty soups, and finally a collection of recipes for delicious desserts, the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook makes the food from the famed café within reach of every home cook. The editor states, "Not a dish is serves that hasn't passed the muster of Alice's impeccable palate". Having worked at Chez Panisse myself for over 12 years, I would definitely agree! And having this cookbook in your collection allows you to recreate those incredible, yet simple, dishes for your friends and family at home.

Chez Panisse..
Chez Panisse Café Cookbook

By Alice Waters


As many of you know, I've planned my book tour for the fall. If you live near any of these places, please stop by and say hi and get your books autographed.


  • October 16-17, San Francisco Book Festival, Fort Mason
  • October 25, Sur La Table, Dallas, Texas
  • October 27-28, Rice Epicurean Market, Houston, Texas
  • October 29, Central Market, Austin, Texas
  • October 30, Central Market, Austin, Texas



  • December 1, Campanile Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA- Dinner featuring desserts from Room For Dessert
  • December 2, Sur La Table, Santa Monica, CA
  • December 4, The Cook's Library, Los Angeles, CA
  • December 6, Gelsons, Calabasas, CA
  • December 11, Cooking Sensations, Half Moon Bay, CA
  • December 14, Draeger's, San Mateo, CA


  • January 22, Sur La Table, San Francisco, CA
  • January 24, Sur La Table, Berkeley, CA
  • January 26, Sur La Table, Los Gatos, CA


  • February 3-5, Sur La Table, Seattle/Kirkland, WA
  • February 7, Store For Cooks, Laguna Niguel, CA
  • February 8, Let's Get Cookin', Westlake Village, CA


  • March 4, Food For Thought (with chocolate maker John Scharffenberger), Santa Rosa, CA
  • March 21, Cook's Wares, Cincinnati, OH
  • March 22, Dorothy Lane Markets, Dayton, OH

Next month....

Wanna date? Learn about creamy and sweet fresh Medjool dates from the Sphinx Ranch in Arizona.

My visit to Kauai, with a recipe or two, and my visit to a coffee plantation and a Farmer's Market in paradise!


Please subscribe to this site by typing in your E-mail address beneath the menu bar to be notified of frequent updates to this site. Your E-mail address is never shared.

Also please let me know how you like the site, what you would like to see, and if you have baking questions, use the question and answer page.


About David

I've been making desserts for over 20 years, both in restaurants such as Chez Panisse and at home. I've had little professional training, instead, I've learned most of what I know from actually doing it. I've made the mistakes, learned the hard way, and realized that it's not fancy techniques or expensive equipment that will make better and tastier desserts, but knowing what you like, developing some basic skills, and learning to taste with your mouth, as well as all of your senses.

I believe that good desserts start with the best ingredients. When I invent a dessert, I begin with perfect ingredients. I may have dark bittersweet chocolate... tart, juicy berries... amber-colored, burnished caramel... glossy, roasted espresso beans... then I think of a dessert that will best highlight these flavors. A chocolate cake should be the essence of great chocolate, a peach shortcake should feature utterly-ripe, juicy peaches tossed in a gentle sprinkle of sugar to coax out all their sweet flavor, a fruit sorbet should taste just about like biting into the ripe fruit itself.

In my upcoming book, Room For Dessert, I present to home cooks some of my favorite desserts Many are classics, some are new, and a good deal of them I developed while working for over 12 years at the renowned Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California.

My goal is to encourage you to bake. I don't want to spend a week in the kitchen, so most of what I do is easy to prepare... with excellent results! As always, I'm still learning too. Every time I crack an egg, slice open a plum, or melt chocolate, I learn something.

Thanks, please subscribe to this site, using the form to the left to be notified of updates.

To learn more about me, follow the link to my biography on the menu bar.



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