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Häagen-Dazs Is Making Vegetable-Flavored Ice Cream, and We So Called It

April 22, 2014

Beet ice cream on salad. Photo credit: Getty Images

When Häagen-Dazs recently announced that it would release two vegetable-based ice cream flavors—tomato-cherry and carrot-orange—in Japan, the internet collectively crinkled its nose and said, “Ew.”

But maybe the internet should re-think that statement—if it can get over that initial reaction of disgust—because we so called vegetable-based desserts being big in 2014. These veggie ice creams (OK, OK, technically tomatoes are fruits) are proof. 

"The whole idea of vegetable desserts is very trendy,” Washington City Paper food editor Jessica Sidman told us. “Most vegetables, if you choose certain ones and cook them a certain way, are just as sweet as many fruits. [Vegetables] add a slightly different flavor [to ice cream], but it’s still a sweet dessert.”

Sidman has experimented with a handful of veg-based ice creams over the years for her now-retired ice cream blog, Frozen Fix. Among them were flavors such as green peasweet potato and brown sugar, and green tomato and yogurt.

Green pea ice cream, said Sidman, “made sense to me because peas are already very sweet, so why would they not be an ice cream flavor?” Sweet potato ice cream was a winner for the same reason.  

If you’re intrigued and willing to let go of preconceived notions about appropriate dessert ingredients, try Sidman’s recipe for green pea ice cream. All you need is an ice cream maker and an open mind.

Photo credit: Jessica Sidman

Green Pea Ice Cream
Courtesy of Jessica Sidman
Makes 1 quart 

1/2 pound peas
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar

1. Fill medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add peas and cook for about 10 minutes. Strain peas and immediately add them to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color. After a minute or two, strain the peas from the ice water and pat them down with a paper towel to remove some water. Add the peas to a large bowl with the cream and set aside.

2. Whip together egg yolks in a separate bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and sugar over medium heat. Just before the milk begins to simmer, pour about half of it into the bowl of egg yolks, adding it half a cup at a time and stirring constantly. Gradually pour the egg mixture back into the milk saucepan. Continue to stir constantly until liquid thickens into a custard and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

3. Pour the milk into the bowl with the cream and peas. Chill in refrigerator or using an ice bath. When cold, use an electric hand mixer or blender to puree the peas until smooth. Pass the custard through a sieve to make sure it is smooth. Pour it into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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