Spicy Beet Ice Cream

I was trying to think of something unusual to do with beets, and I set the bar kind of high by starting with spaghetti and beet balls.

I decided to do a spicy beet ice cream. It turned out great! When you taste it, you get "mmm... cold ice cream... orange... vanilla... and, what is that other taste?" "And O.K., now why is the back of my throat burning."

This recipe is a tester-sized recipe since I wasn't sure if it would turn out. It makes a pint of ice cream, so you may want to multiply it. Though admittedly this would make a better intermezzo or accompaniment to something else, not necessarily something you'd want to eat an entire pint of, unlike the chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream.

Peel and dice into a 1/4" dice a large beet or several small ones. Place in a vacuum bag, season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Sous vide for 45 minutes at 180°F. Remove from the sous vide maker and chill. This step can be done ahead of time. I made 10.0 oz. of cooked beets, but this is far more than is necessary for this recipe. You could also roast the beets in the oven, the traditional way.
beeticecream2.jpgIce cream base:

2 egg yolks
3 oz. granulated sugar
4 oz. heavy cream (35 % milk fat)
8 oz. whole milk (3.5 % to 4 % fat)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Lightly beat the egg yolk. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Put all of the ingredients in a vacuum bag, and sous vide them for 20 minutes at 149°F then chill. This step can be done ahead of time, and should produce about 16.1 oz. (by weight) of ice cream base. You can also do this step on the stove by scalding the milk, tempering the yolks, and bringing up to the desired temperature, but that's a lot more work and more prone to producing scrambled eggs in milk.

Puree 4 oz. beets in a food processor with minced orange zest and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add to the chilled custard base and blend.

Prepare in an ice cream maker as usual.

When I had an idea for beet ice cream I googled and found Michael Symon's spicy beet ice cream recipe. Then I happened to read an article in the New York Times magazine article about Humphry Slocombe, the very unusual ice cream shop in San Francisco. They do a hibiscus beet ice cream.