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Friday, January 9, 2015

Pickled Beet Ice Cream

I needed to come up with a Birthday present for my neighbor. Something not too personal but thoughtful. Not too expensive, but not cheap. I hate giving someone something they don't need. What to do, what to do. . . Hmm, then it came to me. What would be a great surprise gift to give him in January during a Midwest winter? Ice cream! What's a flavor he's never had before? Pickled beets! LOL

The idea was actually inspired by the pickled beets his mom made. He and his wife brought a jar over and the moment I tasted them I knew they'd be great spooned over vanilla ice cream. They were sweet and spiced like Christmas time. I don't know if his mom added cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg or all there. I just know they were fantastic! The next time I had them was over vanilla ice cream. I'd told him they were delicious that way but could tell he was ambivalent to try a vegetable ice cream concoction. His Birthday was the perfect excuse to whip up a batch of Birthday Beet Ice Cream using the "Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone, Orange Zest, and Poppy Seeds" recipe from my Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook. I omitted the orange zest and poppy seeds and replaced them with his mom's beets.

I'm not going to share the recipe because it's in the book. I will share the basic steps and how I added the pickled beets in this photo tutorial:
    1. Roast fresh beets
    2. After processing the beets I pushed them through a fine sieve. This is how you make seedless and very smooth ice creams with any cooked fruit or vegetable.
    3. Mix with other ingredients.
    4. Cook the ice cream base on your stovetop.
    5. Mix all of the base ingredients together and chill. The recommended way in the book is to put the base in a big Ziploc bag and place in a large bowl of ice water. But we had two inches of new fallen snow on the ground and very low temperatures so I put my base in a metal mixing bowl outside and mounded snow around it covering the bowl with a cookie sheet to keep the snow out while it chilled.
    6. I mashed the pickled beets with my potato masher.
    7. The end result of step #6.
    8. I poured the now chilled base mixture into my electric ice cream machine.
    9. I alternated layers of ice cream and mashed beets until the container was full. By layering this way it creates a "swirl" effect when you scoop the ice cream out later.
    10. When it was done I put the container in the back of the freezer to harden.

The base recipe was rich, creamy, and tasted like cheesecake complemented with the sweet and spiced pickled beets. I took it over and told him if he didn't care for it I'd take it back with me and make him a new flavor. He sampled it and said he was keeping it, but I could also make him another flavor anyway :D

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