Beet and Orange Ice Cream (#39)

6 12 2012

Nature creates some pretty amazing things  Take beets for instance.  A humble root vegetable with an impossibly beautiful fuschia colour.  Surely it’d make gorgeous ice cream.

If the idea of beet ice cream sounds downright weird to you, it’s probably because you are thinking of pickled beets.  No, no!  This recipe uses fresh beets, which have a fresh, natural sweetness.

beets, beetroots, farmers market

Fresh beets at the farmers market earlier this year.

Chopped beets are gently simmered, whirled into a luscious puree, then mixed into a basic custard along with some fresh orange juice and orange zest to brighten the flavour.  The taste of beets in the finished ice cream is rather subtle.  Unless you’re told or unless you have a very discerning palette, you might not even know there are beets in this recipe.  I brought samples to work and one taster thought the flavour could have passed for cherry.  Another thought it tasted like a Creamsicle.  The Official Taster LOVED this ice cream, mainly for its complex flavour.  Personally, I was more interested in the colour of the ice cream than its taste.  The custard is a glossy hot pink (I want to paint a feature wall with this colour!) and freezes to an intense, matte red.

If you’re a beet lover, you should definitely make this ice cream.  If you’re not, try this recipe anyway for the novelty factor!

Beet and Orange Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups finely chopped beets
1/2 cup water
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Juice of one orange
Finely chopped zest of one orange

  1. In a small saucepan, simmer the beets in the water and 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Tip the beets and the liquid into a blender and puree until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the beet puree, orange zest, and orange juice.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Beet orange ice cream

The Official Taster says: “I LOVE it!  It starts off citrusy and sweet, and then you can taste the beet.”




3 responses

7 12 2012
Vinny Grette

Love the sweetness of beets, but never thought of trying beet ice cream before – great idea! I’ve recently posted about beet cake and other beet delights – love them!

13 12 2012
52 Scoops

Love your beet recipes! I’ve been meaning to make a red velvet cake with beets!

10 12 2012

beetroot ice cream, that’s a new concept! Curious about the taste, sounds like it could be a winner!

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