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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.
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