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Sweet Serendipity: Delightful Desserts and Devilish Dish Hardcover – July 2, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Serendipity 3, Manhattan’s beloved ice cream parlor, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and to mark the event, one of its co-founders has collected mouth-watering recipes for the restaurant’s best desserts, as well as tidbits of gossip from his years serving stars. The book’s color photographs and lighthearted design capture the eclectic splendor of the Upper East Side destination, which serves up such favorites as Mississippi Mud Cake, Aunt Buba’s Sand Tarts and Ftatateeta’s Toast. A whole chapter is devoted to the most lavishly praised dessert, Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, along with its many variations. For those not counting calories, an explosion of sundaes in the last chapter, such as the Cheesecake Vesuvius Sundae, will hit the spot. The only thing missing is an explanation for the origin of each dessert. As for the gossip, Bruce provides glimpses of Marilyn Monroe, wearing only a trench coat and eating Fudge Pie, and reveals that Sylvester Stallone was turned down for a waiter position because his astrological sign didn’t meet the owners’ approval. Best of all is the introduction that remembers three "roommates in a humble cold-water flat" who took $500, some family recipes and their own unique style to create the restaurant. Readers will want to take a break from creating the sugary delights to ponder Bruce’s advice to "let life take you where it may." Sugar-lovers everywhere will be glad it took Bruce and his cohorts to Serendipity 3.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"...flipping through page after page of over-the-top desserts is sometimes just the “afternoon snack” I crave. Serendipity 3’s stunning new cookbook -- released in honor of the famed New York dessert boutique’s 60th anniversary -- takes the edge off, and then some." -Kevin Sharkey, Executive Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living
 
"…includes recipes and stories and is a delightful read for anyone who loves foods and sweets and stories of old New York City." –AM New York 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Universe; First Edition edition (July 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789310759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789310750
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love to read intros to good cookbooks, they reveal what one will find therein. This one is no exception. It was begun as an exception: new concept of fun, indulgent dessert hangout within gift shop botique, with high class.

This was quickly grasped by customer base of the famous who liked the scene and made it theirs and everyone else who wanted their frozen/hot dessert drinks and rich, whipcreamed topped dessert plates.

Now, the rest of us who haven't made the scene firsthand can have the treats in our own confines. Neat treats they are, i.e. The Manor Born Banana Cake with Coffee Buttercream; Mississippi Mud Cake; Summerhouse Cake; Nutty Ned's Walnut Bars; Lemon Ice Box Pie (great story here of first cooks' obtaining free fur coat saving labels from key ingredient condensed milk labels); Schrafft's Tutti Frutti Chiffon Pie; and their infamous "Frrrrozzzen Hot Chocolate". This is fun to eat/drink/slurp stuff!!!

This is fun collection. The stories and favorite seats of famous and rest of stories are as good as recipes. Not that difficult of technique or ingredients, one can find much "serendipity" with these! For chochoholics, check out Marcel Desaulniers wonderful books!

One of three co-founders says it well: "It's a cozy place where dream-sized desserts and ice cream parlor whimsy lull you into a fantasy of another day and age."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an avid cook book collector. I tend to look for the ones that stand out from the rest... the ones that have a bit more in them then just recipies. This is definitley one of those books. If I could, I'd give it 10 stars.

The book is filled with wonderful little recipes that everyone should have. They aren't spectacular. They aren't professional grade. They aren't the kind of recipe that it will take 2 weeks to locate the ingredients and another 6 hours to create the dessert. But that is exactly what seredipity is all about. If you know anything about the actual store/shop/restaurant...they never were into the harder-then-heck kind of recipes. They took simple things, and gave them a style all their own. And all of New York...and eventually the rest of the world...loved it!

The recipes are definitley "yummy." Every single one. The pictures are to die for. Every single one. :) I brought this book to work and had a 1/2 a dozen people ask me when i was making "this" or when I was making "that"...then they'd point to a picture and drool. :)

....but as I began with, this book has more than just recipies in it. It has seredipity's history....written by one of the owners himself. A very interesting read. And it's not just a 1/2 of a page long. It's lengthy. The book is worth it's price just for this read. On almost every page there is a 'snippit' or 'story' from Serendipities history. Feel good stories. Hollywood-siting stories. Stories that will make you want to go to the actual location if you have never been there.

Did you know that Robin Williams brough a little girl who was dying of a life-threatening disease to Serendipity...treated her to lunch....and kept her laughing for hours on end? This book tells you things like that.
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Format: Hardcover
When I grew up in New York, Serendipity was a special occasion destination. I only went there a couple of times, but -- like everyone else -- I fell in love with the "frozen hot chocolate," the funky ambiance, and the eclectic gift shop. (They had pet rocks for sale before it became a fad. For all I know, the fad _started_ at the restaurant.) So I was primed to enjoy Serendipity's cookbook.

You don't have to know anything about the place, though, because the book will bring you up to speed. Serendipity, billed as restaurant and general store, opened in 1954 and, while it serves entrees too, it's most famous for its desserts. That's all you find here -- along with charming text about the restaurant's history, plus anecdoates about and testimonials from all sorts of famous patrons (such as James Lipton, Alec Baldwin, Ron Howard, Yoko Ono). In a lot of cookbooks, the name-dropping can be annoying or precious, but here the stories are really fun. (For example, a fan asked the man standing next to her, "Oooh, is that Meg Ryan?" The unrecognized Dennis Quaid said yes, it was.)

Ultimately, though, this is a cookbook with over 100 cakes and desserts, all beautifully photographed. To my mild surprise, these are all very good recipes... but they aren't amazing. Sure, there's the famous frozen hot chocolate (which is depressingly simple; the secret ingredient is instant hot chocolate mix!). But for the most part, this is a set of perfectly adequate recipes for carrot cake, chocolate blackout cake, bourbon-pecan balls, pecan pie. The pecan pie, for example, has predictable ingredients -- just eggs, sugar, corn syrup, pecans, pie crust -- not even molasses or a drop of booze as a variation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have tried a few of the recipes, but some are too work intensive. The buttercream frosting for the Manor Born Banana cake was tasty but had the consistency of paste. I will stick w/ cream cheese frosting from now on. As winter crawls along, I will spend more time in the kitchen trying other recipes and giving the goodies to friends who never find fault with free food.
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