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Friday, June 26, 2015

Spiced Beet Gelato

I had a fun little contest on my Facbeook page to see who could guess the right flavor!

Good morning!

Summer is upon us, and the 1st harvest was marked by Litha. This means there was a bunch of stuff in my garden that was ready to be harvested to make room for the new stuff. In that harvest was a variety of heirloom beets, which grew like weeds all throughout the spring. In reality, I probably should have harvested sooner, but hey. I'm happy with my haul. I'm also happy with my garlic haul, this year! But this is not about the garlic; no, this is about the beet.

Beetroot is one of the absolute healthiest veggies you can eat. High in antioxidants, the root itself is delicious...but let's not neglect the greens, which are delicious, cooked in sweet cream butter and salt, maybe a drop of red wine vinegar.

You can slice beets thin to make a salad, eaten raw, or roast them as a delicious side dish. You can chop them and put them in rice to create a gorgeous pink color and surprise your kids...or just have them sauteed and buttered, which is my favorite way.  But did you know that a medium-sized beet averages at a whopping 9 grams of sugar per root? This is not a bad thing; in fact, this is a very good thing. Natural sugars from vegetables are very good for you, and much better than processed sugars. This makes this following recipe ideal for people who are looking to cut sugar without cutting taste; seriously, if you're a Diabetic, this won't be bad for you! Here's the recipe for making Spiced Beet Gelato!

Spiced Beet Gelato

  • 3 medium beets(or a dozen or so small beets)
  • 1/2 cup of the reserved roasting liquid(see below)
  • 4 oz egg yolks(about six or seven)
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 Tbsp (seriously, only THAT MUCH!)
  • 1 scraped vanilla bean, or a scant tablespoon of vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Trim your beets of their greens and any little root-hairs you might have. Generally, though, leave them in tact. Put them in a roasting pan of some sort with high sides, such as a casserole dish. Fill with a solution of equal parts water and red wine, just to cover, and add a pinch of salt and pepper, along with 3 allspice berries. Cover in aluminum foil, and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until the beets are very tender.

Drain the liquid and save about 1/2 cup of it. To peel the beets, you can simply use paper towels to wipe away the skin. It'll take a few minutes to do,but you'll save so much of the beet in the process. Trust me, you want all of this deliciousness. 

Once that's done, chop your beets into manageable cubes for your blender, and blend together with the poaching liquid until a smooth, almost custard-like consistency forms. It'll be thick, but you want it to be extremely smooth. 
If you have a Vitamix blender,  you're one step
ahead of the game! Otherwise, a regular blender
will do just fine. 

Add in the cinnamon, lemon juice, eggs and 1/4 of the the sugar, and blend again. Bring to a boil the heavy cream in a separate saucepot with the vanilla and the remaining tablespoon of sugar. 

Once boiling, immediately turn off the heat, and ladle in a splash or two of the hot cream to the beet mixture. Stir, but do not blend; just take a spoon and stir it in the pitcher of the blender, before dumping it all back into the hot cream. 

I am in LOVE with this color!
Scrape down the sides of your blender, ensuring that you've gotten everything, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, immediately remove from the heat and run through a strainer into another container, which will chill in the fridge until cold, at least 4 hours. If you're impatient, like me, however, you can use an ice bath to chill it quickly. One thing you must be sure of when making ice cream, gelato, or any sorbet, is that your mixture must be cold before churning. This will ensure that your machine won't work harder and longer than it has to, and that your finished product won't curdle.
Once churned according to the manufacturer's instructions via your machine, label it and set it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. You can eat it now, but I prefer my ice cream to hold its shape. This freezes beautifully, and it'll last at least a month in the freezer. If you're me, though, it's not going to last that long. It'll last until the week is up, if it's lucky. Because this is seriously delicious. 

This is an excellent way to get some great fiber in, as well as make a low-sugar/no-sugar dessert. Seriously, the amount of added sugar is so low in this recipe, it's practically no-sugar! This is honestly the healthiest, most-beautiful gelato I could think of to make...and I got the beets from my own garden! If you don't have beets growing, of course, store bough is just fine...although I would recommend going to your local farmers' market and buying a bunch. A small bunch of beets is about what this recipe calls for, anyway. If you liked this post, and want to see more like it, just click on the tag "Culinary school" for more!

Oh, and don't be alarmed if your pee turns red after eating half a quart of this stuff. It's completely normal. 

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