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Kitchen experiments: Chocolate Chip Beet Ice Cream

2014 February 28


It’s 10pm on a Wednesday night, and there’s nothing to do.  Football is over, the Badgers aren’t playing, and I’d rather hang myself than watch the Knicks game. Well, boredom = food, so my roommate and I start rummaging through the frig.

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, Greek yogurt, beets…is there anything we can be creative with? A rush to the computer and some quick Googling turns up a recipe from a guy you may have heard of…Thomas Keller. Yeah, you know, the guy that owns world-renowned The French Laundry (CA) and Per Se (NY)? Well, turns out he likes ice cream. Actually, it turns out he likes beet ice cream. Looks like our “what should we make?” dilemma is solved. Check post-break for the recipe!

Beets are delicious. Back in Madison, I had a spectacular dish at Forequarter, which was just named to Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants list. The dish, if memory serves me well, was coffee crusted beets with hibiscus, turnip greens, feta, and buttermilk ice cream. It was mind-blowing. It also served as a nice reminder as to how well a seemingly basic dessert item–ice cream–can go so well in a mostly savory dish.

Beets make for a great ice cream base and give the dessert a spectacular color. The sweetness from the sugar and chocolate coupled with the beet’s inherent starchiness makes for a wonderfully tasty treat. And also, how cool and well-plated is this picture? That’s courtesy of my roommate, Simran. You can see her Instagram feed (loaded with foodie goodness) here.

This recipe is a bit work-intensive, so make sure you’ve got at least a couple hours set aside for the process.

Chocolate Chip Beet Ice Cream (adapted from Coffee and Quinoa)


  • 1 lbs red beets
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips


  1. Boil the beets until tender–this will take about 45 minutes.
  2. Peel and quarter the beets, and then throw into a blender or food processor. Add enough water (about 1/3 of a cup for us) to get the mixture going until it turns into a puree
  3. Strain the puree through a cheese cloth (or fine mesh strainer) and reserve the pulp. Simmer the beet juice over low heat in a small saucepan until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Pour the liquid into a small container, cover, and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to make the ice cream.
  4. Add the reserved beet pulp to a larger saucepan along with the cream, milk, and half the sugar. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to steep, covered, for about half an hour. Strain the cream mixture into a bowl and throw out the beet pulp.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until they’ve thickened and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, pour in about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture to temper the eggs. Pour in the rest of the cream mixture, then return the entire mixture to the saucepan.
  6. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture over low heat until it reaches 175 degrees or has a custard-like consistency. The mixture should stick to the back of the wooden spoon when you lift it out of the pot. Drawing your finger across the spoon should yield a clear line.
  7. Strain the custard into the smaller bowl and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight, or a minimum of at least 6 hours.
  8. Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, it’s time to make ice cream! Stir the reduced beet juice into the custard and churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions–the whole process will probably take 20-25 minutes. During the final 5 minutes of churning, pour in the chocolate chips.
  9. Once the mixture has the consistency of a thick, soft-serve ice cream, dump it into a container and freeze until hard–at least a couple of hours.
  10. After a few hours, scoop some out into a bowl and go to town! This stuff is seriously amazing.




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