Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Sweet Life in Paris: A really good sundae

The best sundae I ever ate was in France and consisted of vanilla ice cream topped with chestnut puree and billows of whipped cream. I already thought it was the best sundae I'd ever tasted when I got to a layer of dry, crumbly, airy meringue and almost collapsed from happiness. Meringue in a sundae is genius. Just when the ice cream has gone a bit soupy and monotonous, your interest is revived by a crispy/chewy cookie. 

Lebovitz's cinnamon vacherin with espresso-caramel ice cream, chocolate sauce and toasted almonds has a fancy name, but somewhat resembles that long ago sundae, which probably also had a fancy name that I have forgotten. Although there are four separate homemade components, they were super-easy to make: a basic meringue, a (fairly) basic and pretty wonderful ice cream, basic chocolate sauce, and basic candied nuts. I really mean it: basic. You just follow the instructions and you will succeed. 

My thoughts: If you substituted vanilla ice cream for the espresso, chestnut puree for the chocolate, and added whipped cream, this might be the best sundae ever.

Husband said: "I'd leave out the chewy thing in the bottom. It's unnecessary and distracting. You either have to deal with it or eat around it."

He ate around it; everyone else dealt with it. Very popular dessert.

I also made Lebovitz's brined pork roast with bourbon-apricot glaze. If you have to eat pork loin, this is a fine way to do it, though it's still dry and bland compared to other cuts of pig, like the shoulder. As I suspected, both my kids loved it. They prefer their meat tidy and pale, unsullied by sauce or too much flavor.  


9 comments:

  1. just saw your write-up on ruhlman's ratio over on slate and really loved it! i'm also reading the sweet life right now and made the floating island. not as hard as i thought it would be. this is a really fun blog!

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  2. I was thinking of making the floating island when we have our neighbors over for dinner. Was it good?

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  3. I've spent the last several evenings reading your blog archives. I love your blog. I love the premise. I love your writing (@ bakingepiphanies thanks for the tip on the Slate article!). I am impressed at the energy you are able to put into this project, i.e., daily shopping for and preparing frequently not just one dish but a full menu. I've been a dedicated reader of numerous food (especially baking) blogs for several years, and don't know how I missed finding yours before now. Glad I finally did!

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  4. I read your column on Ruhlnan's ratios. As you suspected, green tea sponge cake has precedents. Kasutera--Japanese sponge cake flavored with green tea, light yellow-green in color. Personally, I don't think this at all detracts from your achievement!

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  5. One of the many things to love about the French is the way they put chestnuts in everything. Marrons glac├ęs, chestnut crepes ... and chestnut puree on a sundae? Yes, a thousand times yes. I also love brussels sprouts with finely chopped chestnuts and bacon - I think it's a Wolfgang Puck recipe. We make it every Thanksgiving and it's consumed as if set upon by wolves.

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  6. Wow, I loved the Slate article but obviously didn't read all the way to the bottom or would have realized that you wrote that and this. I should have guessed!

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  7. That pork loin photo makes me think of Eraserhead.

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  8. Ice cream with meringue at the bottom? Yum! I love meringue!

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  9. that sundae looks so good. and i love meringue at the bottom. i am trying to cut down on sweets having given up the idea of cutting them out altogether.just looking at the photo of the sundae satisfies my sweet tooth.thanks.

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