A beet custard that is sultry and smooth, earthy and just sweet enough…
This post comes to us from our FP contributor Lexie Smith!
When I was eight years old I could often be found in my brother’s old jeans that I’d covered in grass stains, and boxy long-sleeved shirts. I’d rejoice in the scabs on my knees and elbows and man, was I excited about that time I got a cast (playing basketball, no less!), before I understood the itchy, sweaty, cumbersome reality of it. I was as vocal about my ardent love of the color yellow as I was of my disdain for pink, as well as for the adjective “cute.” But in reality, I was mostly a wannabe tomboy — I really wanted to be the kind of girl that was the only chick on the little league team, but I wasn’t (that girl was named Callie, and she’s still cooler than the rest of us).
I tapped into my girlier roots by thirteen — duh — when I started sewing my own tube tops out of pant legs. Luckily, I could only fit my torso into the thigh portion of a size 00 pair of bell-bottoms before puberty hit, and I quickly moved onto spandex tank tops. This phase too was brief, and once breaking free of the certain kind of hell that is middle school I remembered that, while maybe not a tomboy, I certainly was not a girly girl. Now settled comfortably in my twenties, I’m about a decade back into my habit of dressing like an eight-year-old boy and feeling less than tickled by pink.
But recently, there has been a suave magenta friend in my life — a potent, thrilling, strikingly vibrant snack that’s made me rethink my affections for the hue. This beet budino (budino is the Italian word for custard, which serves nicely here for alliteration purposes) is sultry and smooth, earthy and just sweet enough. It is more womanly than it is girly, and can fill cream puffs, cakes and tarts, just as well as it does a spoon on its very own. Beets do have a way of leaving their mark all over the kitchen, and I must say, pink has never looked better.
Beet Budino (Dairy Free)
Makes about 1 ½ cups, or 3 servings
1 cup cashew milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup cane sugar
1 tbsp arrowroot power
1 tbsp AP flour (if gluten-free, replace with superfine rice flour)
½ tsp vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt
1 beet, roasted or boiled and pureed until smooth
Line a sheet tray with plastic wrap and set aside. Have a fine mesh strainer handy as well.
Over medium-low heat, bring the milk and half of the sugar to a simmer.
While heating, whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar. Add the arrowroot, flour and salt and whisk until mixed completely.
Temper half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, and pour everything back into the saucepan. Still over medium-low heat, whisk the custard constantly. You will see it quickly become thicker and more viscous, and the whisk will begin leaving trails in the mixture. This should take less than a few minutes. Once you see a bubble burp up from the surface, remove from the heat and keep stirring. You do not want it to boil — this will cause the eggs to cook and the mixture will curdle.
Pour the custard directly through the strainer and onto the lined sheet tray. Do not force any cooked egg bits through, but scrape all the mixture off of the backside of the strainer and onto the tray. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
In the meantime, pass the beet puree through the strainer as well. You will lose a bit — that’s okay.
Once the custard is chilled, fold in the beet puree and vanilla.
I love this with lemon zest and whipped greek yogurt, and maybe some toasty seeds.
*This tends to loosen as it sits, so it is best enjoyed within a day or two.