Saturday October 16, 2010

Vegetables for dessert?Candy Corn!

I asked ev’body on the Facebook Page recently what sort of desserts they’d like to see. One request stood out, “Candy corn that doesn’t taste like wax.”

Marshmallows aside, I don’t fancy myself a candy maker. So I never had much intention of making a homemade candy corn per se. I did, however, get the urge to make a candy corn inspired dessert.

I’m clearly all about wacky, child like desserts but this time I wanted to make something just a little more grown up.

tri color panna cotta

Panna cotta came to mind instantly, as it unmolds in a vaguely candy corn-esque tapered cone shape. I hesitate to use artificial colors outside of the realm of celebratory cakes, and I didn’t want to make something which relied solely on dye in order to achieve seasonality.

Then, the very idea of “candy corn” started me down the vegetable path. Not only have golden beets just come into season, they would also lend their vibrant yellow color to emulate the middle layer of a candy corn. They have a mellow, earthy sweetness perfect for fall. Figuring out an orange layer didn’t take much effort: pumpkin pie. But, not wanting to hassle with hacking open a pumpkin, I opted to roast one of my butternut squash from out Elmwood Stock Farm CSA. The rich, orange colored flesh, even “diluted” with cream, would obviate the need for any dye.

The recipe doesn’t require any special equipment (I used a Dixie cup for the mold) or techniques. The only “skill” required is patience. It’s important to let each layer set up thoroughly before moving on to the next, otherwise the layers will blur and the colors run.

As Rosco and I chased the sun all over the yard trying to place the desserts in the best light, he voiced his outright disbelief in the tastiness of beets a hundred times. Rosco said he doesn’t like them savory, so imagining them as dessert prompted his gag reflex.

At the end of the day, after hours of my begging, pleading and shameful cajoling, he conceded to try one bite. On principle. So he could say, “Toldja so” and smirk to himself.

So I prepared a little maple leaf shaped Pumpkin Spice Cookie with a tri-color bite of panna cotta, and two honey poached beet cubes. I handed it to him.

He gave me a deadpan stare, no mirth in his eyes, and took a bite, never breaking eye contact and shooting me daggers the whole time. Then his expression suddenly changed, softened. Eyes wide, he said something I shan’t repeat. But it rhymes with “Moley duck that’s ablazing!” He swiftly dispatched of the rest of the panna cotta, beets and all.

I don’t know if I’ll win anyone else over to Team Beet with this recipe, but I hope someone steps out of their comfort zone to try it. The beet flavor blends with the spices and the vanilla layer and ends up in a very mellow place.

panna cotta detail

The panna cottas take at least 4 hours to make, but a solid 3 of those hours involves surfing the internet or playing video games. You just need to give the panna cotta plenty of time to set and refrain from rushing things.

To make the full dessert, you’ll need

1 batch of "Candy Corn" Panna Cotta
Pumpkin Spice Cookies cut in autumnal shapes
(For a gluten free option try Honey Grahams!)
1 batch Honey Poached Beets, made with golden beets
1/2 batch Honey Poached Beets, made with red beets

Unmold the panna cotta onto a plate by running a thin knife gently around the lip of the cup/mold to loosen the panna cotta. Use your finger to gently pull the panna cotta away from the edge so some air slips in between the pudding and the cup. Turn it upside down over a dessert plate and it should unmold instantly.

Garnish the plate with the poached beets and a generous drizzle of the leftover honey syrup. Add a few pumpkin spice cookies and serve with a strong cup of tea!

Do you think vegetables have their place on the dessert table, or does this list of “approved” vegetables begin with carrot and end with pumpkin? What other vegetables are ripe for the dessertifying? Nominate your best candidates, or post links to your favorite vegetable dessert recipes.

posted byStellaand filed under:  Farms  Gluten Free  Sideshow Photos

7 comments and counting

Oct 19, 2010 ·  9:37 AM

This is brilliant, Stella, and Rosco, your photos make the brilliance quite clear. Amazing!

 · Rona Roberts ·

Oct 20, 2010 ·  1:07 AM

Incredibly creative. It sounds delicious to me, too!

 · Kaitlin ·

Oct 20, 2010 ·  8:29 AM

wow that is incredibly elaborate! love the fall colours!

 · LimeCake ·

Oct 20, 2010 ·  1:00 PM

It’s a lot of steps, that’s for sure, but fortunately they’re all easy. Then again, I’m the girl who can’t resist icing a still-warm cake, so it’s kind of a miracle I pulled it off.


Oct 21, 2010 ·  7:11 AM

Cool that you could get Rosco to try something he was vehemently opposed to. I used to hate beets as well. I remain a candy corn hater, but your thoughtful recipe and presentation makes me a believer.

 · JeanDough ·

Oct 23, 2010 · 11:19 PM

If creamed corn is good, would corn ice cream work?

 · deadly · 

Oct 24, 2010 · 10:58 AM

Yes sir. I love sweet corn ice cream! You game for a batch?



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