Many moons ago, a man in Paris wrote me an e-mail and told me about his food blog with a link at the bottom. I clicked it dubiously–we food bloggers get e-mails like this all the time–only when I clicked, the blog it took me to was unusually impressive. More importantly, the man behind it wasn’t just some striving up-and-comer, he was the former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and the author of several books. His name, as you are all aware, was David Lebovitz and soon after that early exchange we became friends: I visited him in Paris, he visited me in New York. We figured out food blogging together. And then a funny thing happened: he become wildly famous. People line up around city blocks to meet him and the David who was relatively obscure ten years ago is now an international phenomenon. What’s so great about it is that David is so deserving of his success; he’s a terrific cook, yes, and a wonderful writer, but what makes people love him so much, I think, is his heart. You can feel it beating in all of his work–on his blog, in his recipes, even on Twitter–but never has it been better represented than it is in his new, absolutely stunning cookbook My Paris Kitchen. It’s the kind of cookbook you need to rush out and get right now.
Ok, enough with this healthy stuff. Bring on dessert.
Very well! For a long time I’ve been curious about Crème Caramel but too wimpy to make it. It starts by making caramel, something I’ve done many times, but then you pour the caramel into ramekins, make a custard with eggs and milk and vanilla bean, pour it on top and cook everything in a water bath. The scary part comes later, after you refrigerate it, when your guests are there and it’s time to unmold… what if it doesn’t come out? What if the caramel didn’t melt and remained a hard block? What if your custard is too wet? Or, worse, overcooked? When it comes to Crème Caramel it’s easy to be afraid.
For those of you daunted by the rainbow cookie recipe, fear not: here’s a one-pot dessert sauce that, with a tub of good vanilla ice cream (I like Häagen-Dazs), will transform your entire weekend. It’s salty, it’s sticky, it’s sweet and it takes just a few minutes.