"The Ice Cream Deck," Lou Seibert Pappas

Pros: Delicious!! Versatility of card deck format
Cons: Small mistakes; clumsiness of card deck format
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book (published 2009) courtesy of Chronicle Books.


I find card deck-format cookbooks to be both a positive and a negative. It’s great to be able to pluck a single card from the deck and stand it on the kitchen counter to work with—particularly when compared with a soft-bound book prone to closing. On the other hand, you have to consistently remember to put the cards back in their case, preferably in order, or the whole thing becomes chaos and you risk losing cards. Ultimately I expect this is one of those personal preference things that some cooks will love and others won’t.

An eight-page foldout card introduces you to the basics of making ice cream, the types of ice cream makers, tools, serving tips, and a handy table of contents that lists out all of the recipes. Then you’ll find fifteen cards for ice creams, gelatos, frozen yogurt, and semifreddo, followed by ten cards of “ice cream treats.” These include ice cream pie, ice cream sandwiches, bonbons, sundaes, and parfaits.

Obviously with those numbers you won’t find a vast selection of flavors, but Lou Seibert Pappas does manage to include some nice stuff here: a classic vanilla bean ice cream, bittersweet chocolate, mint chocolate chip, dulce de leche, blueberry, lavender-honey. It’s a nice mix of basics and a few unusual flavors. I thought the honey-orange-pistachio ice cream was heavy on the pistachios, but that’s the sort of detail it’s easy to tweak to individual tastes, and other than that the ice cream was heavenly. The directions include a handy tip to crush the orange zest with a small amount of sugar to bring out the oils. There’s a semifreddo in here that’s creamy-smooth and has enough alcohol that it tastes like a frozen cocktail (yum!). Unfortunately, this recipe is also where we found our first obvious error: the ingredients listing includes orange zest, which isn’t mentioned again in the recipe instructions. Of course we had to try one of the ice cream treats, so we made one of the four parfaits: glorious alternating layers of coconut tapioca and mango ice cream! This one was absolutely to-die-for.

The cards are sturdy and include quite a few pretty color photographs. The layout is easy to read, with simple, clear fonts. The surface of the cards is smooth, making them much easier than most cookbook pages to clean off if you get them dirty.

The number of recipes isn’t huge, and not everyone will like the card deck format, but these recipes definitely yield delicious results! Making your own ice cream can be very rewarding for dessert lovers, and this is a great way to get started.

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  2. […] The Ice Cream Deck is perfect stocking-stuffer size. And if you want to make it a theme (and encourage someone to make homemade ice cream for you!), you could also give your friend an ice cream maker to go with it! […]

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