How to Make Real-Deal Soft Frozen Custard at Home

What would you get if you happen to took the dense, plush texture of Italian gelato, added the creamy physique of American ice cream, and served it recent from the machine like delicate serve? You'd have one of many biggest desserts born on American soil: frozen custard.

Frozen custard is what occurs once you take extra-rich ice cream and omit all of the air. It's so dense and delicate it barely helps its personal weight—it's served in ploops, not scoops—or it's whizzed up with chunky mix-ins or sizzling fudge and served as an extra-thick milkshake referred to as a concrete. Ice cream is for individuals who like dairy. Custard is for dairy fanatics.

Maybe that is why, regardless of its Coney Island heritage, custard actually made its title within the Midwest and South. Right this moment you will discover custard outlets from Wisconsin to Missouri to Maryland and Virginia, in addition to in chains like Kopp's, Culver's, and most lately Shake Shack.

Frozen custard at Scooter's in Chicago.

An ice cream this good shouldn't be confined to burger joints and custard outlets—however can house cooks make it with none particular gear? Because it seems, sure, and right here's a secret: the do-it-yourself stuff is simply nearly as good, if not higher, than what you should buy.

Frozen Custard vs. Ice Cream

Mix up custard with sauces and chunky mix-ins and you've got a super-thick milkshake referred to as a concrete.

Legally talking, American ice cream is a churned frozen dairy dessert that is a minimum of 10% butterfat by weight. Custard follows the identical guidelines, however it should even be a minimum of 1.4% egg yolk solids by weight.*

*In case you're questioning, Harold McGee pins an egg yolk at 16% protein solids; the remainder is water and fats.

In cookbooks, the phrases "ice cream" and "frozen custard" are sometimes used interchangeably as a result of most house ice cream recipes lately name for egg yolks, and it solely takes two to a few yolks per pint to succeed in that 1.4% benchmark. So so far as the FDA is worried, the ice cream you're making at house most likely qualifies as frozen custard, assuming you're utilizing eggs.

Custard at 5 Oz. Manufacturing unit in New York Metropolis.

However the custard you'll discover at Kopp's and Shake Shack isn't simply extra-eggy ice cream. For one factor, frozen custard has to be eaten recent—inside two hours of being made, when it's at its softest and creamiest. However the largest distinction between ice cream and custard isn't a recipe or serving temperature—it's the machine you employ to make it.

{Many professional} American ice cream machines are designed to beat air into an ice cream base as they chill it down. Churning paddles agitate the combination to maintain ice crystals small, and air provides the hallmark lightness of American-style ice cream.

The continual freezer at Kopp's. Counter staff scrape the stream of recent custard into a relaxing storage bucket beneath.

Frozen custard machines, referred to as steady freezers, work in another way. You pour custard base into one aspect and the machine sends it down a pipe that freezes the custard to delicate serve temperatures, then spits it out in a single steady stream. The machine works somewhat air into the custard, however manner lower than the fast-and-furious paddles of an ice cream maker. And the custard is prepared quick—as quickly as two minutes after the bottom will get poured in. At Shake Shack, the continual freezer can run for hours, sucking in liquid base and turning it into recent custard all day lengthy. With excessive buyer demand, the custard is eaten immediately, and it by no means will get an opportunity to agency up into arduous ice cream.

Bringing Custard Residence

Custard is totally different from ice cream in 3 ways: 1) an eggier recipe, 2) a delicate serve consistency, and three) a dense, wealthy texture with much less air than ice cream. We will make eggy ice cream simply sufficient and the delicate serve half isn't a lot of an issue. However what about that air?

Right here's the factor: the ice cream maker in your kitchen works in another way from the professional mannequin in an ice cream store. A professional machine beats air into ice cream like an electrical mixer whipping cream—quick and livid. A house machine, which might take 30 minutes to churn a single batch of ice cream, is way slower, and works in a lot much less air, extra like stirring a bowl of cream with a wood spoon. That's why the ice cream you make at house is commonly extra dense than something you should buy within the retailer, and that's the distinction we will make the most of as house cooks.

Gentle Serve By Any Different Title

For my first attempt, I puzzled if I may I make frozen custard simply by churning a standard ice cream recipe and consuming it recent. In any case, my go-to vanilla ice cream is fairly eggy, and it is lots wealthy, nearly 18% butterfat in comparison with the super-premium 16% combine you will discover at Kopp's.

I churned a batch and served it recent subsequent to some Shake Shack custard for comparability. Tasters liked, and even most popular, the do-it-yourself delicate serve, however it wasn't the frozen custard I used to be after. The Shake Shack model was somewhat extra dense and wealthy, with an ever-so-slight chewiness harking back to sizzling fudge. That's the elusive custard texture I used to be making an attempt to attain.

One other factor I hadn't considered: frozen custard is served hotter than arduous ice cream, and the hotter an ice cream, the extra salt and sweetness you style. All of the salt and sugar in my recipe served to intensify the flavors of vanilla and egg, however they did so on the expense of the milk and cream. Custard is all about that trustworthy, easy dairy taste; my ice cream was truly too flavorful for the job.

Getting Wealthy(er)

How may I get a richer texture in my custard? Extra fats or eggs isn't the reply—my recipe is already loaded with each, and including extra would solely make the ice cream too heavy. Nor may I add in much less air—my ice cream maker works on one velocity and doesn't enable me to manage the air consumption.

After eggs and cream, custard's third pillar is sugar, and as I do know from making sorbet, totally different sugars make for various ice cream textures. My favourite broadly out there alterna-sugar is corn syrup, which I typically use in sorbets to attain an extra-glossy texture that feels extra dense and wealthy on the tongue. Slightly corn syrup ought to convey out the marginally fudgy custard really feel I used to be on the lookout for.

Additionally, pound for pound, corn syrup is much less candy than desk sugar. Swapping out some sugar for corn syrup and decreasing my recipe's salt content material ought to give me the mellower, extra dairy-forward taste I used to be on the lookout for.

This time it was dead-on. See how plush and shiny the custard seems to be when it's nudged with a spoon? That's the corn syrup at work—just a bit bit, however sufficient to make the ultimate product richer, creamier, and ever so barely chewy, similar to the custard you get at Shake Shack, Kopp's, and all the opposite high custard outlets.

I'll put it this manner: I labored on this recipe over a sequence of days, and once I advised my pretty colleagues I used to be accomplished and there'd be No Extra Contemporary Custard, I received various whimpering noises in reply.

Serving Frozen Custard

There's a draw back to creating custard at house in lieu of an actual custard machine: it doesn't churn fairly as chilly, so it melts particularly rapidly. So until you're planning to eat your custard proper out of the churning bowl, I'd suggest transferring it to a container and letting it agency up within the freezer for an hour, ideally in small pint-sized containers. While you take away it, it'll be simply agency sufficient to spoon out however nonetheless delicate, recent, and custardy.

As with store-bought custard, you'll want to eat these things recent, inside two hours of creating it. So don't make greater than you'll serve in a single sitting, as something leftover will harden into plain outdated ice cream. For 2 or three folks, a pint is all you want; you'll be able to all the time double the recipe and churn in small batches.

And I do know you're questioning: can I take advantage of this to make concretes? Certainly you'll be able to. However since your custard is hotter than what you'd get out of an expert machine, it's greatest to skip the blender or milkshake machine and add your mix-ins straight to the ice cream maker. For vanilla custard, I like chopped up M&M's. For chocolate custard, heath bars are simply the factor, however if you happen to want brownies, cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels, or gummy bears, go together with what feels proper.

What else does your just-as-good-as-the-competition custard want? How about an ersatz burger recipe to make it a full meal?

Get The Recipes:

  • Gentle and Wealthy Vanilla Frozen Custard
  • Gentle and Wealthy Chocolate Frozen Custard