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Kickin' It: Old School Frozen Custard, Seattle

Old School Custard, Seattle
So, Old School Frozen Custard has opened in what is quickly becoming Seattle's Ice Cream District in Capitol Hill, what with the recent opening of several other arbiters of chilled treats including Molly Moon's Ice Cream and more recently Bluebird Ice Cream. However, you'd be a fool to mistake frozen custard for your everyday softserve. Why? Well, Old School's website does their best to educate, under the heading "What is Frozen Custard?". As they put it:

We know what you're thinking, but you're probably wrong. Frozen custard is not flan, crème brûlée, or something your grandma throws in a pie.

as the narrative goes on, the differences are mainly to be found in two places. First, ingredients: frozen custard not only contains a minimum of 10% butterfat (this is the delectable thing that makes premium ice creams coat your tongue with deliciousness), but it also has 1.4% egg yolk by weight. It's the yolk that separates frozen custard from regular ice cream by adding a "richer, fuller taste and an indescribably silky texture."


The second difference is preparation: "The volume of regular ice cream is almost doubled by the air whipped into it during production (called overrun)," --crystals formed during this time can lead to a coarse texture in softserve ice cream. With frozen custard, the mix is continuously fed into and frozen in a barrel, avoiding this extreme aeration and resulting in a denser, creamier finish with 70% less overrun than regular ice cream. It's also served slightly warmer than ice cream: "In contrast to regular ice cream which is served just above freezing, Old School's frozen custard is served 18-20 degrees warmer, which allows for maximum flavor and doesn't freeze your taste buds."

Old School Custard, Seattle
But enough science. As they say, proof is in the pudding, and the expert CakeSpy tasters (Allie, Jason and Danny) agreed: this stuff is good. Old School only offers three flavors daily (vanilla, chocolate and one daily special) but personalization can be attained with a large variety of mix-ins, from brownie bits to nuts, pretzels, caramel and more. The smooth, silky texture of the custard was delightful, and the addition of brownie and fudge was declared a delight; all agreed that the whipped cream, too, was exceptional. 
Overall, the tasters seemed to agree that custard is not for the feint of heart: if you're expecting regular softserve ice cream, the creamy density of this rich treat might be overwhelming. Happily though, this also makes Old School a different enough experience from the other ice cream places that perhaps they can all exist in harmony, ready to cater to all sorts of different frozen-treat cravings. But if it's a seriously decadent dessert experience you're seeking, then maybe it's time to kick it...well, you know.
Old School Frozen Custard, 1316 E. Pike Street, Seattle; online at oldschoolfrozencustard.com.

For an interesting NPR story about frozen custard, click here.

Old School Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon


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Reader Comments (13)

Spy, I am with you on the decadence! One interesting note: When I was doing a story on Peaks Frozen Custard (in Ravenna), I got to taste the difference between absolutely fresh custard and custard that's even an hour old. It's amazing how much better the supremely fresh stuff tastes. For me, it was the difference between "sure, whatever" and "I suddenly see why there is a crazy cult around this product."

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah Denn

I didn't even know they knew about frozen custard on the West Coast - I grew up in upstate New York where I believe there were several frozen custard places. Awww, that suddenly reminded of good old Carvel's, not frozen yogurt, but soft serve. You must check out the Cookie Puss and the rest of Carvel's wonderful commercials from the 1970s they're on youtube.Ah memories of Rochester, NY in the 1970s.

adorable pic of danny! had a great sundae with a big schmear of peanut butter and hot fudge - to die for.

July 15 | Unregistered Commenterramonssuzette

That looks so delicious! I wish I had been able to stop there on my recent Seattle vacation!

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Newlywed

Holy cow, that looks delightful. There's a new frozen custard place here that's had no advertising or anything and is in a very low profile location. I will have to go break the story.

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

Rebekah: Get me to Ravenna! I've got to try some supremely fresh stuff, I see! It is nearly poetic, that fleeting deliciousness!

Caitlin: This is the first I have seen it, though I just learned about the place in Ravenna via Rebekah, above. Cookie Puss here I come!

Ramonssuzette: Isn't he the cutest? He's even more delightful a morsel than the ice cream!

Mrs. Newlywed: Time to come back!

Lydia: Doesn't it? Can't wait to hear if your place is awesome!

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I buy the frozen custard at Good Times (fast food hamburger joint) and use it to make frozen pies. The peppermint stick is always a big hit at Christmas in a chocolate cookie crust with fudge topping and covered with whipped cream...not a calorie in it!!!

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterLolliCakes

We drive by a frozen custard shop every Friday, and have yet to stop. Guess where we're going this week? You convinced me it's worth stopping for.

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterLovey

Love, love, love frozen custard. PA has a great small shop where my parents live. I make it a point to go there at least once when I visit them in the summer.

When I lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, I headed to Kohl's frozen custard at least once a week for a treat. They had only a few flavors each day and had a 'Flavor Hotline' you could call to see when your favorites would be available. It was amazing stuff. Not to be missed.

July 16 | Unregistered CommenterNatalieMac

This custard frozen in white color symbolizes the presence of purity.


http://www.directstartv.com/jump.html?referID=oa-1700-149074" rel="nofollow"> Free Satellite TV

July 18 | Unregistered Commenterjustice

Milwaukee is all about frozen custard. If you are near there, go to Kopp's and try it!

This post and its pictures are making me extremely hungry right now! I think I can already hear this delicious custard, my couch, and my new Direct TV calling my name right now. Guess I just have to patiently wait for all my classes to be over!
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