26 August 2007

Day 15: Can you guess the flavor?

You'll never guess what flavor ice cream this is, and you'll be even more surprised to know it's one of my favorites!

When I first decided I wanted to undertake this challenge, I wanted to come up with some unusual but not outrageous ice cream flavors. As I started perusing recipes, I realized there are some pretty wacky flavors out there, edamame ice cream? bacon? tomato? parsnip? After hearing all those, you start thinking some ice cream flavors sound fairly normal. Like beet ice cream. And you know what, beet ice cream is really good!

I had an idea to try a beet ice cream, though I had no idea how it would turn out and for all I knew it could have been awful. But when I first made the mixture I couldn't believe how delicious it was: I kept going back to the fridge to taste it, claiming to be “tasting for sweetness,” but really I kept going back because it was so good! Beets have a natural earthy sweetness that’s elevated with the addition of orange juice and zest. Bathed in sweet, creamy custard, it’s truly delicious.

The not-so-usual suspects.

The only problem, now that I'd made a delicious beet ice cream, was getting other people to eat it. When I gave this to some friends for a taste test, I had them try and guess the flavor. Raspberry, currant, they suggested, enjoying the bright pink cream, blood orange? They couldn’t guess the mystery flavor, but declared it delicious, and it was only after they’d downed every last spoonful that I told them it was beet. They had no idea! This has to be one of my favorite ice creams I've made, and the best part is that even after two weeks in the freezer, this ice cream was a perfect scoop-able consistency (a major victory for any home-churner).

Beets have a great affinity with chocolate (really, see below), so I like to pair this with a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet or a drizzle of chocolate sauce. It's a very easy ice cream to make, and I really urge people to try it, whether just for yourself to enjoy, or to surprise some unexpecting guests. And if you, too, find yourself eating scoop after scoop, just tell yourself you're getting your vegetables.

Beet Ice Cream

3 medium-size beets
1 small orange
8 oz (about 1 cup) sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Wrap the beets in foil and roast in the oven until very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove, when cool enough to handle, peel beets and chop finely.
2. Place the beets in a blender or food processor. Add the juice of the small orange and about 1 teaspoon of the orange zest. Purée the mixture until you have a rough purée. Add the sour cream, sugar, and half-and-half. Purée the mixture until completely smooth and combined.
3. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (optional). Refrigerate to chill the mixture completely, several hours or overnight. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Perfect Pairing:
Beets have a great affinity with chocolate (if you don’t believe me, check out this). Mix in chocolate chips, drizzle with chocolate sauce, or serve with a scoop of chocolate sorbet.
For adventurous audiences:
In a riff on the classic Eastern European dishes, pair beet ice cream with cucumber sorbet. You could even top it with a little sweetened sour cream and sprinkle of poppy seeds!


Sandi said...

Mercedes, I think you have lost it this time. My family would be in mutiny.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I don't know if I could eat beet ice cream & I'm a vegetarian--ha!

Sarah C. said...

Oh, and here I was thinking...Pepto!

SteamyKitchen said...

I was guessing pomegranate!

Nicoel said...

I'm not going to lie, I was a little shocked, but I think it sounds delicious, but I love beets so what can I say...

Anonymous said...

Yay beet ice cream! We were making rose ice cream and thought about tinting it pink with beets, but weren't sure about the flavor. I will so be trying this. I'm really curious about the sour cream. I bet it makes a great consistency without using eggs. Plus, beets play so nicely with orange. What a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Dangit, I was so sure it was prickly pear. We made prickly pear souffles at work once and they were that color too.

Unknown said...

I have no doubt this is delicious. After avoiding beets my entire life for no particular reason, I discovered that beets are fabulous after tasting a beet margarita. A beetarita. I'm hooked, and my ice cream maker's cooling chamber is in the freezer, ready to go.

Mercedes said...

Ah, no, please don't be nay-sayers! Every single person I've served beet ice cream to has loved it, and the key is not to tell them the flavor beforehand. So many people have mental blocks about certain things, but once they try it, they realize it's really good!

I realize it takes a little leap of faith, but you've got to try it.

I'm glad there are some fans out there as well.

Bri- yes, using sour cream is a nice way to get thickness without having to make a custard, check out the sour-cream-brown-sugar ice cream also on the site.

Megan- a beetarita, that surprises even me! I do hope you try the recipe!

PurpleRN said...

That sounds so amazing. People look at me like I'm crazy when I say beets should be a dessert food, and here is a perfect application! If only I had an ice cream maker... *cries*

Anonymous said...

Go figure.
Finally a good use for all those beets out there!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

This is beautiful - I can believe it tastes good and then it makes such a beautiful surprise when the secret ingredient is revealed. I am learning to appreciate the beets more and more.

Anonymous said...

Haha doesn't look like your beet ice cream is getting rave reviews...probably something I would have to try to understand, but good lord, it would take a lot of convincing to get me to try it!

Unknown said...

I'm pulling beets from the garden right after I write this. Mmmmmm.

These are good, too: horse radish and sour cream icecream (sans sugar, with pinch of salt), softened, over cold, sliced, rare roast beef. Lime basil ice cream (we make it as soon as the lime basil's bushy and make it, and make it all summer!) Herbs in general make terrific ice creams and sorbets. . . .


Anonymous said...

I'm relatively new to your blog and have really enjoyed the 20 days of ice cream - the tiramisu ice cream recipe was particularly amazing.

Caramelized ginger ice cream is also one of my favorites - especially when accompanied with chocolate sauce...yum!

KMDuff said...

I made this recipe earlier this week, and the . (Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (optional)) step should not be optional IMHO. Very important step! Good flavor, but the tiny bits of beet make it too weird for us I guess. I don't think we'll be finishing it. :( It's not the same as little bits of berries in the ice cream, like I was thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mercedes,

My friend and I tried the recipe last night and it was SOOO good with chocolate. Thanks for the recommendation!