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Crazy for Frozen Custard at Fog City

Frozen custard with caramel sauce. Photo courtesy of Kristen Loken.

Frozen custard—a sweet, rich, cold and creamy concoction made of eggs, cream and sugar--is one of the most exciting and delicious offerings at the newly revamped Fog City restaurant. Sauces are a part of the buzz, and include egg yolk caramel, a fresh fruit plummy sauce, and chocolate. The frozen custard arrives with French culler donuts for dessert (and yes, the 24/7 operation Bob’s Donuts on Polk Street was an inspiration). 

To perfect the technique to make frozen custard, Chefs Bruce Hill and Pastry chef Aaron Toensing went to custard school in St. Louis—a region where the dessert is decidedly more popular. Frozen custard is not often found on restaurant menus here. On the food truck scene, there are two contenders: Lexie’s Frozen Custard competes with Frozen Kuhsterd. Generally frozen custard is more popular in Midwest places like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which sports the title of the most frozen custard shops in the nation. 

Chef Hill was raised in Washington DC and told 7x7 that he did not grow up eating frozen custard. Hill takes on techniques and becomes a master--he has blossomed into a custard and frozen dessert pro and years ago launched the soft-serve trend in the Bay Area at his Pizzeria Picco restaurant. Straus came up with the soft serve mix that everyone uses now, but Hill makes his own. He became so passionate about frozen custard that he attended The Frozen Dessert Institute in St. Louis along with Fog City Pastry Chef Aaron Toesing, to learn the ins and outs of frozen custard. He joked to 7x7 that he wants customers to “eat more eggs,” as one reason for creating custom custard.

Hill has displayed the same zeal with his patented stainless steel Chef’s press (for burgers and meats—available at Williams-Sonoma stores and in the Chefs Catalog), and pizza making technique. He is widely credited with bringing black garlic and organic soft serve ice cream to the Bay Area. Hill loves the frozen custard for its texture, because "it is the best form of ice cream there is, with the lightest, silkiest, smoothest texture. It really is all about the texture and the way the natural flavor of the Straus Family Creamery ice cream comes through when it is in frozen custard form."

Fog City spokesperson Caitlin Sandberg shared a surprising fact with 7x7: this frozen custard “has less butterfat - only 8% compared to the 10% butterfat in normal frozen custard. It is 1.4 % egg yolk by volume, and the end product is about 10% air and 8% butterfat. Basically Bruce wanted to make the densest ice cream product possible with the least amount of butterfat. The frozen custard is made with special machine that freezes very quickly and uses surface tension to limit the amount of air in the end product. It's like ice cream being squeezed in a sushi roller while it's being frozen very quickly, so the compression makes it super smooth and creamy. It's not whipped or airy.”

On one thing we can all agree: Fog City is the cutting edge of frozen custard.

Fog City, 1300 Battery, (415) 982-2000.

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