Plate Deconstruction: Tom Aikens Restaurant's Candied Beetroot Dessert

Tom Aikens Restaurant in London's extremely charming Chelsea neighborhood just went through a big redesign, reopening in January with a new look after nine years in the biz (the restaurant's website got a nice overhaul as well). Besides the interior re-do, the menu evolved to spotlight the Michelin-starred chef's creative impulses. Take, for instance, the candied beetroot dessert, which recasts the love-it-or-hate-it beet (a.k.a. beetroot) as some sort of super ingredient.

"I have always loved beetroot as it's so adaptable," Aikens writes us from London. "It works in a wide range of dishes including soups, salads and dressings. I've also experimented with pickling, baking, pureeing and deep-frying them. They generally lend themselves to something sweet because of their high natural sugar content and I thought that this would be perfect for a dessert. Beetroot typically goes so well with yoghurt so that's how the idea of the Candied Beetroot dish started."

Its dramatic presentation earns it a Plate Deconstruction, the first from outside the U.S. Aikens breaks it down below.

Who knew the beet could be so versatile? Tom Aikens Restaurant in London's Chelsea district flaunts the flavors and textures of beets in this dessert.

  1. Beetroot meringue | "This is soft and gooey in the middle and crisp on the outside with a sweet and sour taste," says Aikens.

  2. Candied beetroot | The candied version of the beet that gives this dish its name.

  3. Beetroot crisp and yogurt parfait | "We combine beet puree with N Zorbit [which can turn liquid fats to powder] and spread it very thin on a plastic mat. The N Zorbit helps make the puree crispy. The yoghurt parfait is essentially a frozen mousse with diced beetroot and port added."

  4. Yoghurt espuma | "This is natural Greek yogurt that has been sweetened with sugar, then set with gelatin. It is then placed into an espuma (also known as a canister or cream gun and aerated by placing gas into the canister)."

  5. Yogurt and beetroot roll | "Yoghurt and beetroot mousse infused with lemon zest. This is then set in a tube, then rolled in beetroot powder."

  6. Beetroot sorbet | "Just a sorbet made with beet juice and a beet puree."

  7. Yoghurt snow | "This is frozen yoghurt mixed with buttermilk. It's frozen and then churned in a pack jet which turns it into a very fine powder."

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