Celebrity chefs have their own realms of cuisine and recipes. Some specialize in BBQ, others in French cuisine, and others cover it all. But when one chef talks about how great another’s recipe is, you know it has to be pretty darn good.
Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, the network’s resident Italian cuisine chef, did just that. One recipe in particular of The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, is a huge favorite of the Everyday Italian host.
Find out what it is, what goes in it, and why De Laurentiis is so crazy about it.
De Laurentiis’ favorite dessert as a child
The celebrity chef loved cooking with her grandfather, film director Dino De Laurentiis. Giada has shared in the past of time spent in her grandparents’ kitchen, their love for cooking for their family, and involving their grandchildren in the process.
One of her favorite snacks to have with her grandfather was a simple, luxurious dessert Giada described for FirstWeFeast in 2016.
“My grandfather would make for myself and for him—because nobody else wanted to eat it—fresh ricotta he would basically smoosh down on a plate and top with plain old white granulated sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. That was my dessert every Sunday. There’s crunch on top of something creamy and soft—it’s a texture thing. To this day I still look for those types of textures.”
De Laurentiis literally deconstructs foods she eats, especially desserts
The 49-year-old has an interesting habit when she eats desserts: she takes them apart. Much like the varying ways one can eat an Oreo, dunked, pulled apart, scraped of Oreo goodness, or just eaten whole, De Laurentiis has her own special technique when it comes to enjoying her desserts.
“I went to cooking school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and it was a very difficult first year there,” she continued in her conversation with FirstWeFeast. “Not speaking the language, not knowing anybody—I was really lonely. In my pastries class, we were learning to make puff pastry, and we made a s**t ton of [it]. We would make 20-25 croissants….In those days they were like, ‘Take it home! Give it to your neighbors, your friends, whatever.’”
“I would take it home, and after school, my dinner was to lay them all out on a sheet pan and unravel all of my croissants, and pick out the bars of dark chocolate in each and every croissant. That is how I spent many a night in Paris, in my one-room apartment, and how I realized I drown my sorrows in my food. To this day I do exactly the same thing, though these days I also peel off the top and bottom, the crispy, buttery parts. I don’t care about the dough inside.”
Her favorite Ina Garten recipe
It turns out, De Laurentiis’ favorite cake recipe, that she enjoys every year on her birthday, is by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself.
“I have the same chocolate cake every year,” she revealed to InStyle in 2016. “Ina uses uses a cherry liqueur in the frosting that is just freaking phenomenal and actually seeps into the cake itself.”
The cake is called Chocolate Cassis Cake, and it is sure to impress anyone who gets a slice on their birthday.