Beetroot Heaven

Hello and welcome back to my blog.

Today I have a great chocolate recipe for you involving a versatile but sadly often over looked vegetable.

The humble beetroot

The humble beetroot

At this time of year our local farm shops are heaving with seasonal fruit and veg, whether it’s marrow sized courgettes, heads of sweet corn or the first of the apples, there is plenty to choose from. However there is one veg that never really gets the praise its due, often you’ll see it sitting forlornly in the veg box, wrinkled and soft to the touch and far past its best. I’m talking about the humble beetroot.

The beetroot has certainly come a long way from the dark days of the seventies when crinkle sliced beetroot, steeped in overpowering and harsh vinegar was the way most people experienced it. Many restaurants and TV chefs are now rightly championing beetroot, however it is still often over looked by the home cook and that’s a shame, as it’s not only a great tasting and textured ingredient, it’s also incredibly good for you, being full of iron, vitamin C and many other nutrients.

(Take a look at http://www.lovebeetroot.co.uk for more info on its health benefits)

With its myriad of uses, from roasted with a good balsamic and served alongside duck, or pureed and stirred through a risotto, its certainly a useful companion in the home cooks arsenal.

But what I want to talk about is a crowd pleasing and indulgent use of the beetroot, one sure to increase its street cred, which can only be achieved by a dessert.

Beetroot is a great vegetable to use in a variety of cakes and puddings. It’s sweet (which is obvious when you realise it is closely related to sugar beet from which we make sugar) and moist, all sought after qualities for creating a great cake. These are the same virtues of the carrot, and carrot cake is a tea time favorite the world over, so why not beetroot cake? Or better still beetroot brownie?

Brownies by their nature should be soft, sweet and moist. Adding beetroot retains all that lovely moisture, but removes some of the over powering, tooth aching sweetness and makes the brownie a more light affair, but in no way does it damage the necessary feeling of indulgence that is so important when consuming a brownie!

Beetroot Brownie

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 250g cooked beetroot
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in to a bowl along with the butter, and melt over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Grease and line a brownie tin roughly 20cm by 20cm.
  3. Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale, thick and increased in volume.
  4. Peel and then grate the beetroot into a separate bowl. (To cook the beetroot, simply remove the leaves and any roots, and simmer until tender. Then refresh in cold water until cool enough to handle and peel. Gloves are always a great idea when dealing with beetroot!)
  5. When the chocolate and butter have melted, pour into the egg and sugar mix and fold together with a spatula.
  6. Add the pinch of sea salt and a good cap full of the vanilla extract, fold this in.
  7. Sieve in the flour and fold in to the chocolate mix.
  8. Add the grated beetroot and fold all together.
  9. Pour in to the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes at 160c, a brownie should be moist and still slightly sticky, so a skewer inserted into the brownie should come out with some soft brownie still attached but not raw wet mix! You may need to bake these a few times to get the cooking times perfect in your own oven, but having to cook several batches of brownies will, I doubt, be much of a hardship.
  10. When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tin and slicing. Serve at room temperature for the perfect soft textured brownie.

These brownies will go down a storm with your friends and family, none of them guessing that your secret ingredient is the humble beetroot! Why not post a picture of your brownie on our face book page, we’d love to see how you get on https://www.facebook.com/RedHenCookerySchool?

Happy cooking!

Richard