Stain Those Hands! aka More About Beets

So you think you don’t like beets.  Or you already know you love them.  Either way, here are a couple more recipes for you to try.  If you fall into the first camp you may be pleasantly surprised.  If you fall into the second camp these will be welcome additions to your beet repertoire.  Either way, enjoy.  And if you try these and you still don’t like beets, then I can do no more but say well, more beets for the rest of us. 

Chocolate Spice Cake (with Beets, but no one will know if you don’t tell them…)

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 oz dark baking chocolate
  • 2 cups beet puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • powdered sugar for decorating

First, make the beet puree.  Stem and root 5-6 medium beets, cover with water in a small saucepan, boil until tender.  Run under cold water until you can handle them then slip the skins off.  Puree in a blender then measure two cups.  (Use the rest in a soup or stirred into potato latkes or just eat.)  Next grease and flour a 10″ springform pan.  Using an electric mixer cream together 3/4 of the butter and the sugars.  Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate well.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and the rest of the butter, either in the microwave (taking care not to scorch the chocolate) or a double boiler.  Set the chocolate aside to cool slightly.  In another bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  Beat the chocolate into the butter/egg mixture.  It will look grainy or broken, don’t worry.  Mix in the dry ingredients, a cup at a time, until well mixed.   Pour into the pan and bake at 375 for 55 minutes, then check cake.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.  If it isn’t done, bake for up to another 20 minutes, checking every 7-8.  When it is done, cool for 10-15 minutes on a baking wrack then remove pan and cool thoroughly.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve with beautiful pink whipped cream (reserve 2 Tbs of the red beet cooking water and set aside.  Using a very cold bowl, cream, and beaters whip 1 cup heavy cream with 1 Tbs powdered sugar.  When it is quite thick, drizzle in the red water a little at a time.  Keep beating.  When it is the color you want, stop adding the water and beat until cream is whipped.  Serve each slice of cake with a healthy dollop of cream.  You can also garnish with a little grated beet but that might be going a bit too far.

Beet and Potato Mustard Gratin

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1 lb beets
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 cups milk (cow or soy)
  • 1 Tbs brown mustard
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed, minced, or grated
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Put the olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish, spread it all over the bottom and sides.  Peel and slice the potatoes, onions, and beets then layer them in the pan, ending with potatoes on top.  Meanwhile, whisk together everything else in a bowl.  Pour the wet mixture over the potato mixture, covering everything.  Cover pan with foil and bake at 400 for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and cook another 5-10 minutes to brown.  If there is a lot of liquid left in the pan leave open until moisture is absorbed.  Serve hot.

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