Beet Ice Cream

Beet Ice Cream | Arcadian Botanica

Beets are a vegetable – I am sorry to admit – that my immature tongue refused for years. But with the coming of age, your taste buds transform, and now I am happy to say that I love beets! And black coffee, and dandelion greens, and strong cheese! All the things that make me feel like a distinguished gourmand, when in reality I just have the palate of a normal adult. It’s not that I’ve completely abandoned my adolescent cravings – like ice cream, my Epicurean heel – it’s just now I do odd things like add BEETS to ice cream.

I’ve played around with beets before in my confections, primarily as a natural food coloring for cakes. I’m drawn to its rich, beautiful color, which is why I continue to incorporate it in both my savory and sweet concoctions. It lends itself well to both. Generally people stick to the savory, but I’m always astounded by its versatility in the sweet department. Beets can play a supporting role where you barely notice its presence – as in a red velvet cake with grated beets. Or they can be the star of the show, as they are in this ice cream, where the flavor is just as bold as the color.

Beet Ice Cream | Arcadian Botanica

There are not many beet ice cream recipes floating around, and I’ve certainly never come across it to taste test, so I thought I’d give it a try. Beets are sweet after all, so it shouldn’t taste too odd, right?…I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted just as I had hoped! It was sweet enough to not conflict with the sweetness of the cream, yet the earthiness of the beets came through just enough to offer a different flavor profile that was new and exciting. The texture was also spot on. Roasting and pureeing them thoroughly avoided any texture complications. It was smooth and homogenous as good ice cream should be.

Adding the grapefruit is a tricky yet necessary task. The ice cream needs a bit of acidity in order to make all the right notes of the beet flavors pop, and the grapefruit flavor is one that complements the beet quite splendidly. There’s just one problem with adding acid to dairy – it curdles! I tried to avoid this issue by implementing the acid in a simple syrup cooked separate from the custard base. You need to keep them separate until the last minute. So, right before you put the mixture in the ice cream maker, you quickly whisk the simple syrup into the custard base. Incorporate quickly and rapidly to keep the curdling low, and immediately pour the mixture into a prepped ice cream maker. So far I have been able to keep the curdling to a minimum with this method.

So there you have it – Beet Ice Cream. A sweet kiss from Mother Nature. An avant-garde flavor profile. A color feast for the eyes. All from the humble beet. My kitchen and garden have many more adventures with beets to come, so stay posted.

Beet Ice Cream | Arcadian Botanica

Beet Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 medium beets, roasted and peeled
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 6 egg yolks, beaten

Instructions

    To Make the Ice Cream
  1. Prep your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
  2. In a measuring glass, combine the heavy cream and whole milk.
  3. After roasting and peeling the beets, puree in a food processor with some of the milk mixture (about 1 cup) in order to get a smooth puree.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest over medium heat until the sugar melts and creates a thick syrup. Set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, bring the beet puree and the rest of the milk mixture to a simmer.
  6. With the beaten eggs in a separate bowl, add a bit of the hot beet mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. This tempers the eggs.
  7. Add the egg mixture slowly to the main pot of beet mixture.
  8. Reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Whisk the mixture frequently. Allow it to thicken. A trick to knowing if it's thick: dip a spoon in the mixture and drag your finger down the back of the spoon. If a clean line stays down the middle, then the mixture is the appropriate thickness. Remove from heat.
  9. Have your prepped ice cream maker at the ready.
  10. Pour the sugar syrup, along with the grapefruit zest, into the beet mixture. Whisk quickly and rapidly to prevent curdling. Once incorporated, add the mixture to the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions.
http://www.arcadianash.com/cookery/beet-ice-cream/

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