BEET SEMIFREDDO : I love the color of beets. Rouge-stained finger tips deliver a rich beet "cream". Earthy; A perfect Fall dessert.
Juice 5 medium beets, you'll need a little over a cup. Then, put the beet juice in a saucepan on medium heat and reduce until it's half its size. (This took me about 22 minutes). Pick up half a lemon and add a hefty squeeze of it's juice. Pour the mixture into a small plastic container and put in the fridge to cool. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan put a third of a cup of white sugar and third of a cup of water. (This won't look like very much) then stir slowly until sugar dissolves and then bring to a boil. You want to leave this boil for 3 whole minutes. While you wait for it to boil, put 5 large egg yolks at room temperatue in an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until slightly swelled and pale. Back at the stove, when your sugar mixture has boiled for the 3 minutes, take it off the heat and add it to the beaten egg yolks in a slow steady stream on a medium high speed until the mixtures gets really pale and doubles in volume. This will be about 5 minutes. Fold this mixture into a plastic tupperware container suitable for freezing. Add one and a quarter cup of chilled heavy cream now to the mixer and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the heavy cream to the plastic container as well, and then fold in the beet juice, slowly and efficiently till blended. Put in the freezer. It will need to be there at least 3 hours. I left mine there overnight.
CANDIED BEETS: Scrape the seeds from one vanilla pod into a heavy medium saucepan, then add the pod, 4 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat till sugar is dissolved. Add 3 medium, peeled, beets and let liquid boil down until really thick, syrupy and caramelized. This will take one and a half hours, or even longer. It shouldn't be runny. Take the beets out with a slotted spoon and thinly dice, into very small quarter-inch segments. Don't make the beets too large. It needs to be a super fine dice. Place the beets back in the thick candied syrup, toss well, and refridgerate.
ASSEMBLE: Place semifreddo in a small jelly jar and top with candied beets.
This was inspired from a recipe by Jean Marie and Juliette Baudic for "Beet Parfaits" that appeared in Gourmet magazine (RIP!) October 2007.