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Beet Creme Brulee {Recipe}

One birthday tradition in our family is that the birthday girl selects the dessert for the day. My dad always has German chocolate cake; Alex and my sister Megan usually share a pie; Lil likes chocolate cake (homemade, of course). Now that my youngest sister Heather is a trained pastry chef and freelance cake and truffle maker, I usually give her a few ideas and tell her to make me something tasty. This year, I wanted to see her interpret the trend I see of including beets in desserts.

beet creme brulee recipebeet creme brulee bite

Heather served up two awesome sweets for my beety birthday earlier this month - chocolate beet cake and beet creme brulee. KatySheCooks has a great chocolate beet cake recipe.

The first thing one notices about beet brulee is that it is shockingly pink. The color would lend itself to a baby girl shower or Halloween 'bloody brulee' treat.

The earthy beet flavor compliments the eggy custard nicely. It is great on its own, as we ate it, but we all thought it might be fun to play with additional flavors - perhaps a tiny bit of smoky paprika in the crust, or a tad of spicy ancho powder in the custard. If you try it with an extra flavor, let me know!

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Beet Creme Brulee
courtesy of Taysetee Pastry chef Heather Tayse
Makes: 4-6 servings, depending on the size of ramekins
Time: 30 minutes active cooking, 1 hour baking, 12 hour cooling

2 2/3 cups cream
pinch salt
2-3 medium sized beets, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup egg yolks (approximately 16 eggs worth)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Pour cream, salt, and beets into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, and set to a very low simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the cream has a deep pink color and tastes of beets.
2. Pour hot cream mixture into a blender and blend until fully smooth - this step may need to be done in batches, or you can use an immersion blender.
3. Whisk yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt together until ribbon stage. (Light and fluffy)
4. Temper the egg mixture into the cream mixture by pouring a little bit of hot cream into the yolks and whisking. Add a little more cream and whisk again. Pour both yolks and the rest of the cream back into the pot.
5. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon.
6. Strain through a fine sieve and cool over a water bath, then chill 4-8 hours to let flavor's mellow (over night is better).
7. Pour into oven safe ramekins or bowls and place into a deep casserole dish (or a pan with at least 2" sides).
8. Place into a 325 degrees F pre-heated oven.
9. Pour hot water into the casserole dish to come at least half way up the sides of the brulee dishes, being careful not to splash any water on the dessert.
10. Cover entire dish with a cookie sheet, sheet pan, or aluminum foil.
11. Bake for 30-90 minutes (depending on the size of ramekin/bowl you use), or until when the creme brulee is gently shaken, the mixture is no longer in a liquid form.
12. Remove from oven, being careful not to spill the water bath into the brulee.  Immediately remove dishes from the water bath and let cool to room temperature.  Once at room temperature cover each individually with plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving so they are thoroughly chilled.
13.  To brulee: Place a thin layer of turbinado and granulated sugar on the surface of the brulee and using a blow torch very carefully caramelize the sugar.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.[/print_this]

Added to Hearth and Soul.