Fans of David Lebovitz who haven’t added Ready for Dessert to their cookbook collections should make a little bit of room on the shelf for this volume. With over 170 recipes, it features some of Lebovitz’s most popular recipes as well as some of his newfound favorites. There is a great variety of recipes, from cakes to pies to sorbets, and each one is accompanied by a a great little story that draws you in and makes you want to start preheating your oven.
The recipes are accessible, made with readily available ingredients that make even the most unusual recipes – such as a Cherry Gateau Basque, which isn’t something you’ll find in just any cookbook – seem familiar and easy to make. The instructions are very clearly written and easy to follow along with, and the friendly writing style makes you feel like you’re being helped along by a good friend as you work. There are tips throughout the book to offer helpful hints or ingredient suggestions, and almost every recipe has a few variations to give you an idea of twists you could put on it for the next time. There is a recipe in here for just about every taste and every occasion, from the foolproof Chocolate Orbit Cake to a very elegant Champagne Gelee with Kumquats, Grapefruits and Blood Oranges.
Most of the recipes have beautiful, full-page photos to accompany them, but not all of the recipes and you might find yourself wishing that there were a few more photos to illustrate everything (though this is a good reason to try baking them yourself!). My copy – and the one pictured here – is the paperback version of the book, which is also available in hardcover, and I feel that I need to mention that this is a very substantial paperback that is quite large and has almost 300 pages of photos and recipes. This isn’t a case where you’re buying the paperback version to save much space on your bookshelf over the hardcover, but I happen to like the look and feel of the paperback (which just seems more handy and accessible, to me) in this case. This is a fun book to work with and the only problem that you might encounter with it is trying to decide exactly what recipe to start with.