Medium Egg Custard with Marshmallow
August 27, 2014 9:12 AM   Subscribe

"You may think you know what a snowball is. That conical treat of chunky ice where all of the flavor drips out of the bottom of a paper triangle? Nope, that's a snowcone. That fruity, pureed ice that you have to scrape with a wooden spoon? Nope, that's Italian ice. Or maybe the fluffy bowl of ice with condensed milk on top? Wrong again—that's Hawaiian shave ice ... A classic Baltimore snowball arrives in a Styrofoam cup: shaved ice sloshed with sweet syrup—mostly artificial flavoring and not any of that "real fruit" stuff—and typically topped with marshmallow cream. While the ice is shaved, it's not fine enough to dissolve, leaving the snowball chunky and intact enough to survive humid Baltimore summers." SeriousEats covers Baltimore's delicious regional treat, the snowball. Summertime snowballs have been a staple of the city for many, many years. A little bit of ambient snowball stand audio.
posted by codacorolla (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I thought this was a snowball. Because snow is pink, duh.
posted by maryr at 9:16 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

While I appreciate the chance to learn about a new shaved ice treat, that description of Hawai'ian shave ice is almost criminally inadequate. Shave ice can have plenty more kind toppings than condensed milk, yeah? If you're on Maui you want Ululani's; if you're on Oahu it's Matsumoto's all the way.
posted by cubby at 9:32 AM on August 27, 2014

No, that's a snoball. Because sno is pink, apparently.

I had thought I was pretty hip on ice-related treats, but had not been aware of this marshmallow cream situation. Don't know how I feel about it. I'm still not 100% on Shave Ice, either, with the ice cream and chewy stuff. I may have made tactical flavor-combo errors the only two times I've tried it.

I grew up with sno-cones and New Orleans snowballs (and no, New Orleans snowball dealers in LA, it does not have ice cream in it, weirdos), where if you wanted something creamy you got condensed milk poured over it. Lemon and lime (NOT lemon-lime) sno-cone, with cream, that's the thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:35 AM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, these are completely different from the definition at urban dictionary.
posted by ryanrs at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

Marshmallow and ice sounds strange in the abstract, but it's quite delicious in reality.
posted by codacorolla at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2014

(and no, New Orleans snowball dealers in LA, it does not have ice cream in it, weirdos)

Sorry, we ordered soft-serve ice cream in our snow-balls in New Orleans back as far back as the late 70's.

Wikipedia agrees.
posted by garbhoch at 9:45 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Interesting. There were many dueling stands in Texas when I was growing up - the ones who marketed as New Orleans and the ones who did not. Neither offered ice cream.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2014

But in the Big Easy rendition, the ice is shaved more finely, for a consistency that's delicate and light but easily turns soupy.

It only ends up that way if you don't eat it, "Serious" Eats.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:54 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Last time I went home to New Orleans, I stopped at several different snowball shops. I am pretty sure some of them offered ice cream in it. I mean, there are people who will put stuffing in king cakes despite other folks considering it an abomination against man and Rex. These days New Orlenians will put any damn fatty sugary thing on anything else.

I just don't think a world where you can order a "Batman" flavored snowball is one where there's really much room for being a snowball purist.

(And I just googled for "stuffed snowball new orleans" and found a lot of links.)
posted by egypturnash at 9:54 AM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, "stuffed" snoballs have soft serve in the center, but some places include scoop ice cream too. Hansen's Senior Atomic has a scoop of vanilla in addition to strawberry sauce, marshmallow sauce, and a cherry on top.
posted by CheeseLouise at 9:54 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also damnit now I want a snowball but I'm in Seattle and ain't nobody making those here.
posted by egypturnash at 10:00 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Huh, so this is the proper name then, for the kind of thing Jerry's Sno-Cones serves in town...I always have a hard time convincing people to go because of the name; they don't listen when I try to explain they're not sno-cones at all (which totally suck because of the gravely watery texture and way as mentioned in the OP the flavor all falls to the bottom of the paper cone, yeah?) but yeah, it is a billion different flavor combos (John Deere, Elvis, Sno Creme, Black Orchid, Tiger), made from an antique-y ice maker that gives it the best mysteriously creamy texture ever on a hot summer evening. With or without soft serve or that strange uber-sweet syrup. So good!
posted by ifjuly at 10:33 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hansen's Sno Bliz is the original because Ernest Hansen invented the shaved ice machine that makes the 'snow' for the cones. Hansen's always wins first place in New Orleans snowball contests but a close second is Plum Street Snoballs. On my way to work, I'd often be passing there as ice was being delivered in the mornings--big blanket-covered blocks of ice hauled out with ice tongs in a blast of cold air, just as I remember seeing it at the icehouse on Main Street when I was a girl. Plum Street opens in mid-March and keeps going until mid-October. I like it that school children can still pass by the snowball stand in the mornings and see those big blocks of ice and look forward all day to stopping on the way home for their snowball. Plum Street opens in mid-March and keeps going until mid-October.
posted by Anitanola at 11:50 AM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

At one point I was working on a post about NOLA's Hansen's Sno-Bliz snoballs. This seems like as good a place as any to share some of what I found.

Hansen's in a 1991 home movie (This would be pre-Katrina, of course.)

Hansen's History

About Snoballs

Nectar Cream, a 2008 documentary on Hansen's Sno-Bliz (post-Katrina)

The Hansen's YouTube channel

Blogger's on Hansen's

An interview with 3rd generation snoballer, Ashley Hansen

Anthony Bourdain visited Hansen's, but it looks like YouTube has taken that video down, unfortunately.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:55 AM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hansen's? Like that terrible soda?
posted by maryr at 12:32 PM on August 27, 2014

It's all just a variation on a theme. That said, don't forget the Bing.
posted by zinon at 12:39 PM on August 27, 2014

Yeah, thanks for reminding me about Ululani's. I'm several thousand miles from the nearest one. Jerk!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:23 PM on August 27, 2014

1 Part Advocaat
3 Parts Lemonade

In a Collins glass filled with ice, stir: squeeze of lime
posted by Segundus at 1:31 PM on August 27, 2014

The only appropriate flavor for a Baltimore snowball is blue. With marshmallow. Egg custard?!
posted by joan_holloway at 2:27 PM on August 27, 2014

You mean Sky Light instead of blue, right?
posted by codacorolla at 2:34 PM on August 27, 2014

As a native of Baltimore (County) snowballs, particularly egg custard snowballs, were the taste of my childhood. Summer evenings after a Scout meeting, getting an egg custard at the local minigolf place. It was only last year, when I was looking for some egg custard syrup, that I found out that it is a flavor particular to Baltimore. I kind of like that quirky tradition.
posted by X-Himy at 4:05 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


In Nawth Cackalacky, we love Pelicans 100 flavors.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:09 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nope. Nope. Snowballs are a chewy chocolate Hostess cake covered in marshmallow with cutesy coconut flecks on top that occasionally come in pink for some reason, to be eaten on those Saturdays when Mom wasn't around to stop Dad from buying me sugary treats at the gas station while we waited for the tank to fill up.
posted by Mooseli at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

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