Yes, you read that right, Beet Ice Cream! Beets are often used in desserts, their naturally sweet flavor makes them a great choice for baking and sweets. In this creamy ice cream with local honey, beets are pureed with orange juice for a sweet treat that’s just sweet enough. Making ice cream is fun and simple, but requires some advance planning. I use a Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment and if you already have the mixer I highly recommend it. I keep mine in the freezer so it’s always ready to go. This recipe has really basic steps, but it takes a while to bake the beets, and cool the milk mixture. I’d recommend making it a day in advance if you can.
Start by baking the beets wrapped in foil. I quickly peeled and chopped the beets so they would cook faster. You can also bake them whole with the skins, on it just takes longer. While the beets are baking juice the oranges and steep the vanilla in the milk and cream.
Purée the cooked beets in the orange juice and then chill everything. You can quick chill in the freezer (it will still take at least an hour if not more. Or chill overnight in the freezer. (Ice cream really is not for spur of the moment cooking!)
I let the beet mixture chill separately from the milk and then combined when they were the same temperature. Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions or try this freezing method if you don’t have a machine.
Beet Ice Cream
2 beets, peeled and roughly chopped
2 – 3 juicing oranges or 2/3 cup orange juice
2 vanilla beans
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
Roast beets. Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets into a foil packet. Bake until very soft (a fork should slide right through), about one hour. While the beets are baking juice the oranges until you have 2/3 cup orange juice. Let cooked beets cool, and purée in a food processor until smooth. If you want very smooth ice cream, strain mixture through a sieve.
Combine honey, cream and milk in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve the honey. Cut vanilla beans in half, then cut a slit down the middle and add to the pan. Heat over moderate heat, stirring from time to time, just until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Combine cooled beet mixture and milk mixture. Chill until completely cold, or overnight. Mix according to your ice cream maker’s instructions, then let freeze for a harder ice cream you can scoop.