We all scream for … frozen custard? That’s right. Ice cream doesn’t always reign supreme. Summer is here and July is National Ice Cream Month, so there’s no better time to cool down with an icy, sweet treat. This year, give in to something creamier, more mixable and seriously delicious.
Step aside, ice cream. We say custard is king! We asked folks at two local custard staples – Erma’s Frozen Custard in Macomb County and Dearborn Heights’ The Custard Hut – why their fare melts away the competition.
1. It’s creamier
“Frozen custard incorporates more butter fat. That’s what makes it more creamy,” says Jason Eagle, Erma’s marketing and community relations manager.
It also includes egg yolk – at least 1.4 percent – to make it super smooth.
“You can’t feel the sugar granules in it,” says Zahra Saad, owner at The Custard Hut. That’s not the case for soft-serve, though you might not realize it until you do a side-by-side comparison (hey, it’s research!).
“It’s so light, so airy, it doesn’t melt as fast. It’s really an exceptional product,” she says.
2. Flavors galore
Thought special flavors were just for traditional ice cream? Not so. Chocolate, vanilla and twist are just about standard for frozen custard shops, but you’ll also find unique options like pumpkin, toasted coconut, pistachio and even a blue moon/cherry twist (The Custard Hut’s take on Superman). Each week features a new flavor at Erma’s, like the “Wild Erma” with strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, pineapples and bananas.
“It’s so popular that we do it two different weeks in the year,” Eagle says.
3. Have it your way
Cone, cup, sundae, flurry? You can even get a frozen custard waffle! The famous hot waffle sandwich at The Custard Hut draws people from all over the globe, Saad says.
“It’s two toasted waffles with custard in between,” she says. Add toppings like strawberries or even Fruity Pebbles. “We’ve had people from Indonesia, Canada, Lebanon, Mexico. When people come home to visit their family, they have to come here. It’s turned into this world phenomenon.”
At Erma’s, you can even choose your temperature – the old-fashioned is softer and the other is firmer.
“The warmer you serve our custard, the more flavorful it is,” Eagle says.
4. It’s a tradition
What can we say? Families have been calling Erma’s, The Custard Hut and other locally owned custard shops around southeast Michigan their sweet tooth “home” for decades.
“We’ve got three and four generations of families that come here on a regular basis and sometimes even bring newborns,” Eagle says. “Some of those families started out with first dates at our Auburn Road location.”
Call it sentimental value, but there’s just something special about a trip to the frozen custard stand. We think you’ll agree.
Addresses and phones: 6451 Auburn Road, Shelby Township, 586-254-7280; 2080 14 Mile Road, Warren, 586-275-2470; 28840 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores, 586-200-3517
Hours, Memorial Day-Labor Day: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in June-July. Check ahead for other hours.
Address: 25947 W. Warren St., Dearborn Heights
Hours, summer: 1-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Check ahead for other hours.