The Ice Cream Sandwich Innovated at the Custard Hut in Michigan

James Smart

An American summertime staple gets a twist at the Custard Hut. This Michigan snack spot offers great swirls of frozen custard sandwiched between crispy waffles.

It’s richer than the traditional ice cream sandwich, thanks to its heavier use of eggs, and it’s a popular way to stay cool when the weather starts to warm up.

Custard Hut is a treasured dessert spot in Dearborn Heights, Michigan

To make the sandwich, two waffles are toasted and toppings such as chocolate spread, nuts, fruit and candy are added to the bottom waffle before a great creamy glob of custard is swirled on top. The top waffle is then sprinkled with powdered sugar, and the snack is served wrapped in foil, the warm waffles contrasting with the ice-cold custard.

Ice cream, custard and sandwiches

The first record of an ice cream sandwich comes from 1899, when an inventive New York vendor replaced the paper that had previously been used to separate ice cream slabs with cookies. Ireland, Germany, Vietnam, Australia and Iran all have their own version of the chilled snack.

Custard has a history going back to the Roman Empire. Custard tarts were popular in medieval Europe, and the pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) remains a cult delicacy around the world. Custard sandwiches aren’t a new phenomenon – custard creams and rhubarb and custard sandwiches are classic sweet treats in the UK and Ireland. But the Custard Hut’s jazzed-up, chilled, waffle-wrapped concoctions represent a new twist on this sugary, creamy snack.

Create your own

As well as plain old waffles, Custard Hut also offers pumpkin spice, chocolate chip, cinnamon, strawberry and blueberry options. The custard – made from a special recipe that balances buttermilk and egg content – comes in flavors including vanilla, chocolate and twist.

While the hot waffle sandwich is the Custard Hut’s highlight for many visitors, there’s also a selection of shakes, slushes, ice cream cones, hot drinks and other snacks. It’s proved a successful mix – there are lines out of the door on hot days, and just before the shop shuts in winter, some fans raid the freezers for supplies to see them through the darker months.

The Custard Hut is at 25947 W. Warren St. in Dearborn Heights, in the Detroit Metropolitan Area.

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