The Journal News Ice Cream Odyssey: Abbott’s Frozen Custard of Shrub Oak

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Hi, it’s Katherine Curry,  back with another ice cream report, this one on Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Shrub Oak.

I’d like to buy the world a frozen custard from Abbott’s.  I’m not naive enough to think that world peace could be achieved through this frozen concoction, but I think we could maybe achieve a momentary detente.

Frozen custard, for those of you who haven’t encountered this heavenly treat, is made with an egg-based custard and churned more slowly than soft-serve, meaning less air and a denser texture with a creamier mouth feel.

Abbott’s, which began in Rochester in 1902,  is an upstate New York beacon of frozen custard, with franchise locations throughout New York state,  as well as a few sprinkled across the country.  We are fortunate enough to have one Abbott’s near us, up in Shrub Oak, easily accessible off the Taconic North.

I timed it the other night — Abbott’s is a thirteen minute drive from my house.  What I really should be doing is figuring out how long it takes me to walk to Abbott’s, because I foresee many calorie-laden trips to Abbott’s this summer.

The custard shop is in a little old building on East Main Street. Just a little ways beyond the building out of frame, on the right, is the Thai restaurant Bangkok Spice.

A good place to start at Abbott’s is with a cup or cone (cake or waffle) of plain vanilla custard.

Abbott’s vanilla has a straightforward vanilla flavor and a plush texture.  The consistency is as smooth as soft-serve, but it doesn’t get served from a machine.  If you’ve ever made ice cream at home, you know how wonderful the texture of the ice cream is when it first comes out of the machine — lush and creamy,  almost on the verge of beginning to melt.  That’s the consistency that Abbott’s is served at, and it’s the consistency that the dense frozen custard manages to maintain without melting, even in a take-home pint.

Because the custard is made fresh in small batches every day (and, in the case of this past Memorial Day Monday, vanilla was made four times in one day!) you won’t find any storage-related shortcomings: no ice crystals, no freezer burn, no off-taste. Here’s a small batch of mango frozen yogurt, way down at the bottom.

Chocolate lovers have choices at Abbott’s.  Basic chocolate is extremely good.  The chocolate flavor is pronounced but not overpowering.  The sometimes-available chocolate peanut butter cup (also available in pints to go) has nuggets of broken peanut butter cups mixed in, providing just the right amount of peanut butter kick.

And if you like nuts, the chocolate almond is perfection — the almonds are large and crispy, and the contrast between the smooth cold custard and the crunchy nuts is addictive.

Last fall in Rochester, I sampled Abbott’s seasonal pumpkin custard, which had a true pumpkin flavor and just a bit of pie spice — you can bet I’ll be looking for it come autumn.  Six flavors are on hand at any given time, and owner Robert Joachim will make specialty flavors from the Abbott list by request.  Here he is scooping some custard.

I’ve got hopes for the peach cobbler flavor this summer,  but for now, I’ll make do with flavors like creamsicle (mango frozen yogurt mixed with vanilla frozen custard), cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip.

Abbott’s vanilla is the perfect foil for a sundae. This is the strawberry shortcake sundae.

Choose from toppings like hot fudge, warm caramel, butterscotch, pineapple and even peanut butter.  Sprinkles or mix-ins include various candies that will appeal to kids like M&M’s and gummy bears (no thanks), as well as more appealing choices like sliced bananas, crushed nuts and almonds.   Also available:  fruit smoothies, milk shakes, sodas and floats.  Pictured below is a root beer float made with both vanilla and chocolate custard, an unorthodox combination that’s pretty delicious.

A vanilla sundae made with the thick blueberry sauce is pie a la mode minus the crust.  My husband ordered an unusual combination of cookies and cream frozen custard with blueberry sauce (his own creation), pictured below.  The cookies and cream custard didn’t have much flavor, although in fairness, that might have been because it was smothered in blueberry sauce.

In addition to take-home pints, Abbott’s offers ice cream cakes and pies, plus made-in-the-store novelties like frozen bananas, frozen custard sandwiches, and the daunting but delicious custard turtle, made with vanilla or chocolate frozen custard, Spanish peanuts and hot fudge, frozen on a stick and dipped in dark chocolate. The turtles are on the middle shelf in the picture below.

There are multicolored rocking chairs outside, and a few seats inside.

A single cone or dish is $3.41, and a double is $4.41, money well-spent, in my opinion.

If You Go:

Abbott’s Frozen Custard, 1143 East Main St., Shrub Oak. 845-282-1761.

Closed Mondays. Tuesday-Thursday 1:30-9 p.m.; Saturday 1-10 p.m.; Sunday 1-9 p.m.


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