I can’t believe that it was 25 years ago that I started cooking at Chez Panisse. When I got there, David Lebovitz was already working in pastry. I worked in the café but I definitely related to him. We were both New Englanders growing up about an hour away from one another. I also liked his dry, cynical sense of humor and very meticulous attention to every detail. I also liked his style of desserts. They were bold and rich in flavor, used lots of fresh fruit and nothing was ever too sweet.
You can imagine how happy I was when he wrote his first cookbook way back when. I had already been writing for a couple years but after his first book came out, I got the best compliment. One of my students said, ”I love to cook from your cookbooks and David Lebovitz’s… The recipes always work.”
Years later when David first moved to Paris, he and I met up for dinner at this Moroccan place called Chez Omar. I remember it being so smoky I could hardly see David's face across the table but still he made me laugh talking about Parisian smokers, the postman losing his packages and speaking French which he had yet to master. But I wasn’t laughing the next morning in my hotel room when the smell of smoke on my clothes from the night before had permeated everything in the room.
A few months ago, David sent me his newest book, “Ready for Dessert.” Just seeing that cake with creamy chocolate frosting on the cover made me want to run into the kitchen and grab my offset spatula. Instead from the book, I made the Fresh Ginger Cake loaded with spicy hot ginger and black pepper. Amazing!
I was really stuck the other night when friends were coming to dinner. I couldn’t think of what to make for dessert. I didn’t have much time and wanted something easy. I thumbed through David’s book and came across a recipe for Chocolate Tangerine Sorbet. Ah, the perfect finale for my dinner.
I want to thank you David for your wonderful support over the years, your friendship, your great recipes and of course, for sending me this fantastic cookbook.
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed tangerine juice
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the tangerine juice.
Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Makes 1 quart