Posts Tagged ‘David Lebovitz’

This chocolate sorbet is dairy free, very dark and very grown-up.

It’s based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was in turn adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe.

  • 560ml (2¼ cups) water, divided into two portions (see below)
  • 220g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 75g (¾ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Callebaut)
  • small pinch of salt
  • 170g (6oz) semisweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 811 54%)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I used homemade)

Note: resist the urge to use darker chocolate – our first batch was made with Callebaut 70% and it was too dark even for us! These quantities make approximately one litre of sorbet.

1. In a large stew pot over a medium heat, whisk together 375ml (1½ cups) of water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Continue whisking until the mixture boils. Still whisking, allow to boil for about a minute.

2. Add the chocolate and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir until smooth.  Stir in the remaining 185ml (¾ cup) of water.  Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz for a slow count of 15. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – I think it helps to ensure a smooth sorbet.  Resist drinking the mixture at this point (but do taste it – I thought it would make a lovely dairy-free hot chocolate!).

3. Pour the mixture into a metal mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold (we left ours overnight).  The mixture will set semi-solid as it cools – give it a good whisking to loosen it up, then pour it into an icecream maker to churn. Allow to set in the freezer for several hours before serving.

The sorbet freezes solidly, which is not a bad thing, as it makes it difficult to consume the whole tub in one sitting!  As you can see from the photo below though, we did make a fair dent on it while it was still semi-frozen…

Definitely the perfect fix for a serious chocolate craving!

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Here’s my first attempt at working the caramelised white chocolate into a cookie.

Based on a white chocolate cookie recipe from Mrs Fields Best Ever Cookie Book!, these showcase the distinct flavour of the caramelised white chocolate, without being overly sweet. As always, I’ve changed the methodology a bit, adding a long rest in the fridge before the dough is shaped and baked. I think it always results in a prettier cookie!

  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 375g (2½ cups) plain (AP) flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 85g (3oz) caramelised white chocolate
  • 110g (½ cup) white sugar
  • 105g (½ cup, packed) brown sugar
  • 2 large (59g) eggs, at room temperature
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract (we always use homemade)
  • 230g (8oz) dark chocolate chips, preferably 70% cacao

1. Cut a 60g (4 tablespoon) chunk off the butter and chop it into smaller pieces.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sifted bicarb of soda, and salt.  Stir in the dark chocolate chips.

3. Gently heat the caramelised white chocolate to soften if necessary. Scoop it into a small pyrex or ceramic bowl with the 60g butter and melt in the microwave in short bursts, being careful not to scorch the mixture. Stir until smooth and then allow to cool slightly.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining butter with the two sugars until combined, but not fluffy.  Beat the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and the caramelised white chocolate mixture.

5. Add the flour and choc chips and mix until just combined.  Scrape the dough into a container, cover and store in the fridge until firm, at least a couple of hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F) with fan. Scoop rounded tablespoons of the stiff dough and roll into balls, placing them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.

7. Cool the cookies on the tray for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  This recipe makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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A couple of years ago, David Lebovitz blogged about making caramelised white chocolate – a technique he’d learnt during a training visit to the Valrhona Institute.

I was instantly hooked – whilst I’ve never been a big fan of white chocolate, this caramelised version is something completely different. It’s an easy process, but time consuming, and what you see in the jars above is pure white chocolate, with nothing added.

It’s been a while since I’ve made this, but a recent comment by Isabella on one of my old posts inspired me to cook up another batch last weekend.

I used Callebaut White Chocolate, which is slightly lower in cacao than the 30% suggested by Lebovitz, and as a result the chocolate went quite dry and grainy during the cooking process.  After a few minutes resting time out of the oven, it melted a little, and the graininess sieved out as it was poured into the jars.

I began with two trays of white chocolate callets – interestingly the purple tray baked much faster than the grey one.  Both went into a preheated 120C (with fan) oven…

The trays were taken out and stirred every ten minutes…

After an hour (stirring every ten minutes), the chocolate had darkened and was quite stiff…

It needed a good stir…

…and after a few minutes resting time out of the oven, it loosened up a little…

As the melted chocolate was quite grainy, we strained it through a sieve into clean jars…

The grey pan was cooking more slowly than the aubergine one, and we ended up giving it an extra 15 minutes in the oven.  As a result, the chocolate was more caramelised, and you can see from the very top photo that the two jars on the right are a deeper brown than the one on the left…

One thing to note – the chocolate in the jars will set solid as it cools.  It will also bloom, with the cocoa butter separating out in a slightly worrying mould-like fashion.  It doesn’t look particularly attractive, but it won’t hurt the chocolate at all.

Just warm the jars slightly in the microwave (remove the lids first), and they will re-melt to gooey decadence.

Any suggestions on what to do with our new jars of liquid gold?

In the past I’ve stirred it into whipped cream, tempered and set it into bars and made a caramelised white chocolate bundt cake.  I’m still trying to figure out a cookie or brownie recipe to work the chocolate into, and I’m pretty sure it would make a truly amazing icecream.

Of course, all these machinations might be for nought – we usually end up eating it out of the jar with a spoon!

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This wickedly good recipe from David Lebovitz’ new book, Room for Dessert, is a cross between a brownie and fudge.

It’s made in an interesting way – part of the process involves beating the mix by hand, until it “snaps”, in much the same way as fudge does.  This slight change in state gives it a delicious texture – though if you don’t beat it enough, the brownie will be grainy.

The recipe is easy to make, using only one saucepan and mere minutes of preparation time.  Ensure you have everything measured out before you begin, as the process is very quick once you get started.  Also, use the very best chocolate you can afford, as it’s the main ingredient in this recipe.

On the topic of chocolate – it’s important to note that this won’t work (at least not in my experience) if you use high cocoa chocolate in in the initial melting part of the recipe.  The brownies are perfect when butter and 54% Callebaut callets are melted together, and passable with 64% cacao chocolate, but the 70% resulted in an oily mass that cooked up hard with a film of grease over the top. I think that’s because the quantities in this recipe are so small that if you alter the fat balance (which is what increasing the cocoa mass does) without adjusting the other ingredients, the balance goes completely out of whack.

I’ve now made this dish a dozen times and offer two variations – one with nuts as specified in the original recipe (photo above) and the other with extra chocolate.   No prizes for guessing which one my boys prefer!

. . . . .

Fudge Brownies
(based on Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies in David Lebovitz’ Room for Dessert)

  • 90g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 225g (8oz) 50 – 60% cacao semisweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 54%)
  • 150g (¾ cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large (59g) eggs, at room temperature
  • 40g (¼ cup) plain (AP) flour
  • 135g (1 cup) toasted and chopped nuts, OR 150g (1 cup) chocolate bits (Note: for the all chocolate version, I used 100g Callebaut 44% bake stable sticks, broken up AND 50g Callebaut 70% callets)

. . . . .

1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F or 160C/320F with fan.

2. Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go.  Line a 20cm (8″) baking pan with parchment paper.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate and stir over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined.

4. Stir in the eggs one at a time.  Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until you can feel the batter “snap”.  I’ve taken some photos to try and show you what happens – please excuse the slightly blurry one below.

The batter starts out grainy and fairly loose.  As you beat it by hand, it will initially feel like nothing is happening, and then it will suddenly feel a bit stiffer – that’s when you’ll know a state change has occurred.  This might take one minute, or it might take several.  Stop occasionally to check how it’s going. Unlike true fudge, it’s not a huge “snap”, but the texture will definitely change noticeably – it will feel stiffer, look smoother, and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.

Edit Jan 2019: It’s been nearly nine years since I wrote this post, and my hands are nine years older as well, so these days I use a handheld mixer to beat the batter. It only takes a minute or two, but it’s just easier.

5. Gently stir in the inclusions.

6. Scrape the batter into the lined tin and smooth out the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until just firm.   Do not overbake. Allow the brownies to cool completely before lifting them out of the pan and slicing.

These are very easy to make and incredibly moreish.  Pete recently announced (proclaimed?) the all chocolate version below to be his new favourite brownie!

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Dulce de leche, which means milk jam in Spanish, is a sweet, caramelly concoction made from boiling and concentrating condensed milk.  Nothing is added to the milk, but the cooking process imbues it with a rich sweetness well suited to cakes and confectionary.

My first attempt at this recipe was a complete disaster, and I’d been a little gunshy ever since.  Then my friend Ozoz, the Kitchen Butterfly, posted her recipe for making dulce de leche in the microwave.  Since I had three cans of condensed milk in the pantry, I thought it was worth a second attempt.

I emptied two cans of condensed milk (one skim, one full fat) into a large pyrex bowl.

This went into my 1100 watt microwave for :

  • 6 minutes at 50% power, whisking every two minutes, then
  • 14 minutes at 30% power, whisking every one to two minutes, or whenever the milk threatened to boil over.

Be prepared to stand by the microwave and watch this – it’s not a set and leave dish, as it can boil over in a heartbeat!

The finished dulce de leche came out of the microwave lumpy, but whisked into a smooth and silky caramel, which we spooned into sterilised glass jars and stored in the fridge.

. . . . .

The following day, I made dulce de leche truffles, dropping spoonfuls of the cold caramel into tempered chocolate.  These were pleasant, but the balance of flavours wasn’t quite right.

. . . . .

I also made dulce de leche scrolls, which were absolutely delicious – Big Boy loved these! I followed the methodology for nutella scrolls, using the sweet dough from the Pain Viennois recipe.  The dulce de leche worked particularly well with the sweet milk dough.  Prior to baking, I brushed the tops of the risen buns with eggwash and scattered over a little demerara sugar for added crunch.

. . . . .

Since the oven was on all morning, I decided to try David Lebovitz’ recipe for dulce de leche with  my last remaining tin of condensed milk.  This entailed pouring the milk into an ovenproof dish and covering it with foil, then baking it in a water bath for an hour or so at 220C.  The milk set in the oven like a soft baked custard, but was easily transformed into creamy dulce de leche with a little whisking.

What a fantastic ingredient! Maybe I need to try a Chilean Torta De Hojas next…

Edit 26/2: I was inspired by the comments below to try making dulce de leche from scratch.  Have a look here – seriously chuffed with the results!

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