What is the difference between custard and ice cream? Let JD’s tell you

If you don’t know the difference between frozen custard and ice cream, you’re not alone. Dan Gress once was in that group, and then he tasted vanilla custard at the legendary Ted Drewes in St. Louis, and a new business was born.

“In 1995, I was on a business trip in St. Louis, and I had a few hours before the next meeting,” Dan recalled. “The receptionist recommended Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. It is the third-largest tourist attraction in St. Louis behind the Arch and Busch Brewery, she said.

“I could hardly believe that custard shop could be so popular. But upon hearing about the history and how unique frozen custard tasted, our mouths were watering,” he added. After waiting in a long line, we ordered a vanilla frozen custard in a dish. After my first bite, I was hooked on frozen custard. The smooth, rich taste just left me wanting more.”

That is the experience that Englewood residents are familiar with every time they visit JD’s Old Fashioned Frozen Custard, which is owned and operated by Dan and his wife Cindy. They opened the destination in 1998.

So what is the difference between ice cream and frozen custard?

Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which means it’s way denser.

According to the FDA, for ice cream to be called ice cream, it must contain a minimum of 10 percent milkfat by weight. Frozen custard, on the other hand, follows the same rules but also must contain 1.4 percent egg yolks by weight. That means egg yolks are a requirement in frozen custard, which makes for a richer, more luscious product.

What really sets frozen custard apart from ice cream is just how dense it is. While ice cream has plenty of air whipped into it to make it light and airy, frozen custard doesn’t.

This all comes down to the machine that’s used. A professional ice cream machine actually churns air into the ice cream base as it freezes it. The ice cream is then usually placed in a freezer to completely firm up before it’s scooped. But a professional custard machine works as little air as possible into the custard base, and the custard is typically served immediately from the machine at more of a soft-serve temperature, so it melts as soon as you take a bite.

JD’s offers vanilla, chocolate, and lemon custard every day, plus a flavor of the day. They have 21 specialty sundaes, each topped off with a homemade treat.

“Everything is made fresh that day. There are no tubs in the freezer,” Dan said. “Cindy is busy every morning and then every afternoon making treats from scratch, from the custard itself to the Buckeyes and the hot fudge cake among many other items.”

JD’s even offers pizza for dessert.

“We start with a brownie crust, top it with custard and candies or cookies and then drizzle with more sweetness,” Dan said. “You can create your own Pizza. One example is Reese’s Cup.”

You can now get JD’s Frozen Custard at our Englewood Kroger Marketplace. A selection of pints is available in the ice cream aisle.

JD’s basic flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and lemon are Gluten Free.

For more information, visit www.jdcustard.com.