Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef
Publication Date: December 30, 2008
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Consider the strawberry: its familiar flavor and texture; its fresh, sweet smell. Now imagine the same fruit distilled and carbonated for a refreshing soda, slow-roasted for a reinvented strawberry shortcake, made into a creamy strawberry ice cream and a chewy strawberry leather, and combined with coconut cream and crisp chocolate pastry. Alone, each dessert is a taste of paradise, but together this “fourplay,” or tasting, created by Johnny Iuzzini, superstar pastry chef of the celebrated four-star restaurant Jean Georges in New York, is a sophisticated explosion of a familiar flavor that begins with the taste of strawberry rich on your tongue and ends with an effervescent tingle in your nose.
Far from the conventional slice of cake at the end of a meal, Johnny’s seasonal creations—four mini desserts in a quartet of complementary flavors and textures—are a culinary adventure. In Dessert FourPlay, he shares his secrets and inspirations, delivering standout recipes for incredible desserts that can be served alone or combined into his signature fourplay groupings, creating the perfect sweet finale for any meal.
With the home cook in mind, Johnny offers tips on simplifying professional recipes and provides basic recipes for transcendent cakes, cookies, tuiles, ice creams, sorbets, granités, and more. These building blocks can be used to create magnificent multifaceted desserts, or they can be perfect desserts by themselves. Some recipes have surprising versatility: the shiny smooth chocolate glaze Johnny uses to ice cakes doubles as the ultimate hot fudge sauce; a lemony madeleine batter becomes a layer in a cake.
Iuzzini pairs cool with hot, crispy with creamy, sweet with spicy, and the expected—chocolate, strawberries, and cinnamon—with the unexpected—chiles, beets, and chocolatey puffs. The result: desserts that refresh, inspire, and satisfy beyond expectations. Dessert FourPlay invigorates all the senses and inspires home cooks to create innovative desserts of their own.
JOHNNY IUZZINI, executive pastry chef of the world-renowned Jean Georges restaurant in New York City, won the award for Outstanding Pastry Chef from the James Beard Foundation in 2006. This is his first book.
ROY FINAMORE, a publishing veteran of more than thirty years, has worked with many bestselling cookbook authors. He is the author of three books: One Potato, Two Potato; Tasty, which won a James Beard Foundation award; and Fish Without a Doubt.
“The first time I tasted Johnny’s creations, the profusion of delicious flavors in familiar and unfamiliar forms was like nothing I'd ever experienced in a dessert course. In this long-awaited book, Johnny shares the thinking, the cutting-edge techniques, and the flexible recipes that make his approach to the end of the meal so fresh and engaging.”
—Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking
“Dessert FourPlay is as exciting as it is appealing, instructive, and generous. Each dessert is a tour de force of imagination and I’m crazy about the section called Building Blocks, which has dozens of simple recipes for ice cream, cookies, cakes, and sauces to mix-and-match.”
—Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking from My Home to Yours
“Johnny Iuzzini is one of the most talented pastry chefs in America. He is experimental and creative, but his originality and wit are carefully balanced by his classic pastry training. Johnny’s first book, Dessert FourPlay, will be a great inspiration for anyone who has a love of sweets.”
—Daniel Boulud, chef/restaurateur
“From the first day I met him, I knew that Johnny would make a significant contribution to the pastry world. In Dessert FourPlay, you can sample some of his four-star desserts and feel like a rockstar while making them. Johnny's playfulness and desire to push limits in the kitchen are an inspiration to anyone who loves to create.”
—François Payard, chef/owner of Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro and author of Chocolate Epiphany
“Johnny Iuzzini is a serious sugar freak and his enthusiasm comes through on every page. Here’s a guy who can whip up any classic dessert and also show you a cutting-edge technique for making flourless doughnuts. Johnny has always stayed ahead of the curve, and this book proves it.”
—Wylie Dufresne, chef/owner of WD-50
“Y'all, every recipe in this book is deliciously decadent. I just love a man who knows his way around some chocolate!”
—Paula Deen, Food Network host and bestselling cookbook author
“Johnny’s desserts are a mix of tradition, science, humor, and art that are beautifully balanced in his quartets. Be prepared for your senses to explode; expect nothing less.”
—Jean Georges Vongerichten, chef/restaurateur
“Dessert FourPlay is a blockbuster cookbook bursting with mouthwatering recipes, innovative ideas, and breathtaking photos. Many recipes have ‘Make it Simpler’ suggestions that enable the home cook to prepare four-star desserts like a pro. A stunning edition.”
—Carole Walter, author of Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More
“With this impressive collection of seasonal recipes, Johnny Iuzzini reveals his versatility not only with classic techniques, but also with contemporary ideas. He is truly among the country's premier pastry chefs.”
—Eric Ripert, chef/co-owner of Le Bernardin