red beet root cake
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Red Beet Root Cake
Gwen Ashley Walters
September, 2010, Page 183
Red Beet Root Cake
What happens when a savory chef trades in his tongs for a pastry chef’s whisk? Interesting ingredients show up on the dessert menu, such as beets, bacon, herbs and chiles.
Renegade Canteen Pastry Chef Eddie Robinson, who graduated from Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, slaved over a hot stove in several Oregon restaurants before moving back home to Phoenix and switching to the cooler side of the kitchen.
He likes to take ingredients you wouldn’t normally find in a pastry kitchen and turn them into inventive desserts, like the spectacular red beet root cake with carrot-vanilla gelato, candied pistachios and carrot and beet powder ($7).
“I’m a dreamer,” Robinson says, “but I don’t want to be so crazy that people can’t understand me. I just want to harness the true flavors of ingredients people might not think of as typical dessert fare.”
The red beet cake is crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle, much like a French macaron cookie, Robinson’s inspiration for this dessert. He simmers diced beets with sugar until syrupy, and folds them into a stiff meringue with a miniscule amount of flour – just for structure – before baking.
The carrot-vanilla gelato on top is made with fresh carrot juice, but instead of throwing the carrot pulp away, Robinson dehydrates it and grinds it into dust with powdered sugar for a playful garnish. He does the same with beet pulp.
“It’s my take on the pixie stick,” he says.
He could finish the plate with plain pistachios, but instead he simmers them in sugar syrup and then fries them. The result is a counter crunch to the chewy cake and creamy gelato.
Surprisingly, neither the cake nor the gelato is overly sweet, and the muted notes of earthy beets and sweet carrots play nicely together.
We were dreaming of this dessert long after the last bite.
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