Eating beets has never been an attractive choice for me until now. I'll be honest: I made this ice cream for the color. That's all natural fuschia, my friends. Earthy and tart, beet ice cream is not your typical after-school special, but it's worth every spoonful (and the poppy seeds add a nice crunch!).
Last Week: Sweet Potato Ice Cream
Beet Ice Cream with Orange Zest and Poppy Seeds
adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
yields one generous quart
2 cups milk
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup puréed roasted red beets (two medium-sized beets will get the job done)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the roasted beets: Preheat oven to 450°F. Wrap the beets in a sheet of foil. Bake until very soft, about 1 hour. Let the beets cool slightly, then peel them while still warm. Cut into chunks and puree through a sieve.
For the ice cream: In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside. In a saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add orange peel. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture; stir in beets. Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; add poppy seeds; process according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set, about 4 hours.