On a sunny day, there is nothing better than a rich, decadent cone filled with frozen custard, one of the finest treats you can enjoy in Metro Detroit. Frozen custard dates back more than a century and people everywhere are addicted to its texture, flavor and taste.
Frozen custard may be a kind of ice cream – but this luscious dessert shows that not all ice creams are made alike or have the same qualities. Frozen custard is traditionally made with milk, cream and egg yolks, whereas ice cream may use milk or cream or a combination of the two. Sounds like a minor difference? It’s not – those egg yolks are the game changer for custard, making the resulting product smooth and rich.
Another reason why frozen custard is unique is how it is made. Ice cream usually is churned, adding an airy quality to the mixture. Frozen custard minimizes those ice crystals and excess air, giving it the density that separates it from its cold cousin. Ice cream is delicious for sure, but frozen custard is the kind of sweet that you may need to eat in two sittings, it’s that creamy.
According to frozen-custard lore, the invention goes back more than 100 years to Coney Island. That is where two ice-cream makers, Archie and Elton Kohr, added egg yolks to their traditional recipe and found the resulting concoction was a hit. Supposedly, frozen custard also takes longer to melt because of the lack of ice crystals, which made it perfect for walking the boardwalks back in 1919 when the Kohrs came up with it.
Here are five places around Metro Detroit that get rave reviews for their frozen custard.
For those who are new to frozen custard, this is the place to try your first taste. There is a reason why Erma’s is considered the queen of frozen custard. With three locations in Warren, Shelby Township and St. Clair Shores, Erma’s is best known for its traditional vanilla and chocolate flavors as well as its expanded menu of custard-based and custom desserts. Its locations have everything from parfaits to shakes to malts to sundaes, all with custard as the main ingredient. Erma’s has been around for more than 70 years, so its custard is hard to beat.
If you go to this St. Clair Shores location, chances are there will be a line at both the walk-up counter at its fire station-inspired custard palace as well as the drive-through window. People are devoted to this family-owned business that has made frozen custard an Eastside must-have dessert. You can have your custard in a cone, inside a Whirley with lots of candy added or in a giant firefighter helmet stacked so high that you’ll need family and friends to help you finish it in one sitting.
The whole family will love a stop at its Royal Oak mainstay. They have great everyday flavors as well as special treats that make every visit special. They also offer a lot of mix-in candy and fruits to make its custard specialized to whatever kinds of flavor you’re looking for in a decadent dessert.
You might not think of going to Dearborn Heights for the frozen custard, but locals and visitors alike say you have to pay a visit to the Custard Hut if you want to try this cold treat at its best. The menu is wide and varied so everyone of any age in your party will be able to find something they like or be willing to share.
Everyone knows this Wyandotte favorite. Bo Jo’s has been in business downriver for more than 70 years. The best thing about visiting this location is that they are willing to put wild flavor combinations together for its fans to try as well as keeping its longtime favorites on the menu. For example, recent flavors it offered included Strawberry Cheesecake Custard and Key Lime Yogurt, both of which sound truly refreshing on a warm spring night.