From the ruby-purple hue of roasted beets to the bright fuchsia of that beet cake batter, the thing I may love most about beets is their color. After not knowing what to do with beets last year, I’ve made it my sole mission in life this summer to try some creative beet recipes. Challenge accepted. I’ve made a few salads, tried some balsamic glazed beets, etc., but what really catches my eye are completely nontraditional recipes. Like that beet cake. Or now this beet ice cream.
Yes, it’s really ice cream made with beets. Not a lot of beets, mind you—the half-cup called for was about 2 ½ of the medium-sized beets I found at the farmers market last week. But enough beets to give it this gorgeous tint and to allow you to truthfully say that you’ve made beet ice cream.
The recipe is modified from Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only recently heard of Jeni and her ice cream—apparently I’m way behind all the good food nerds. Jeni’s ice cream is well known for its originality in flavors (like this beet concoction, or goat cheese, or lavender, or even corn).
I don’t think the beets here are as well-hidden as they were in the beet cake (the color may be giving it away all alone), but I still think the ice cream is decent. The texture is great and, as I’ve mentioned, the color awesome, so as long as you can get past the idea of beets, you may acquire the taste. I personally felt the orange flavor was too strong, and I had already reduced it from the original recipe, but if you’re a fan, you’ll probably like it. If I make it again, I might substitute something herby, like basil or thyme, for the orange. Also, the original called for mascarpone instead of cream cheese, but I had some leftover cream cheese that I wasn’t going to use for anything else, so I threw it in instead.
Beet Ice Cream With Cream Cheese
and Orange Peel
Modified from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Peel of ½ an orange
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
½ cup puréed roasted beets
Whisk together ¼ cup of the milk and the cornstarch and set aside.
Whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add orange peel. Cook for 4 minutes, then whisk in cornstarch slurry. Return to a boil and cook for about 2 more minutes or until thickened.
Place cream cheese in a large bowl and pour in a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Set a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl. Stir beets into remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Pour mixture through the strainer into the cream cheese and whisk to combine. Discard orange peel and beet solids left in strainer.
Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and chill thoroughly (several hours or overnight). Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.