Friday, September 3, 2010

Beet Treats

O me!—What fray was here?
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.

Here's much to do with beets, but more with love:

Why then, O beating love! O loving beets!


This week, once again, we managed to accumulate lots of beets, which we boiled, pureed, and ... turned into desserts.

Inspired by Chowhound and his runaway imagination, Jack concocted a beet sorbet that went something like this:

Mix together 2 cups pureed beets, 1 cup orange juice, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

In a pan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Add a bunch of dried mint leaves and bring to a boil. Let boil for a few minutes, then remove and reserve the mint.

Combine the mint syrup with the beet mixture and freeze following your ice cream maker instructions.

For a garnish, make candied mint by drying the mint reserved from the syrup on a cookie sheet in the oven (or in a pan on the stovetop).
Chef says, in retrospect, you could use more sugar (more like 3/4 cup) and lots more mint (maybe fresh mint or mint extract).

Don't think we've reached the far left of frozen beet confections; see, for example, this roasted beet sorbet sandwich with chocolate sable breton cookie hearts. (And there are, of course, also beet ice creams in the world.)

Meanwhile, I set out to make Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins, but the batter came out disturbingly puce, so a last-minute addition of cocoa powder made them triple dark chocolate. They're pretty far from being breakfast muffins, and I don't buy it when folks say baking with beets doesn't taste like beets, but they are, if I say so myself, not a bad superfood snack.

Baking with beets is not a terribly original idea; you'll find lots of recipes for chocolate beet cake, and we've made not-chocolate beet cake before. The idea I find most helpful is that pureed beets, like applesauce, can be used as a substitute for some of the oil in many baking recipes. Unlike applesauce, of course, they bring along that alluring/disturbing deep red hue.

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