Someday, beets will have a Zoolander v. Hansel style walk-off with pumpkin and take over October as THE hot vegetable of the momen… No. No they won’t, but I’m a dreamer, you guys.
If anything, this was definitely inspired by all those beautiful, abundant, and admittedly delicious pumpkin swirl breads. It’s a savory take: hearty and nutty with whole wheat, bright pink (more so on the top crust, but who cares), and flavored by mellow, earthy beet. The dill-spiked cream cheese swirl, is, of course, optional, but you don’t win October walk-offs without an extra fancy, extra pretty, extra delicious touch.
You could go all-purpose with this, but I prefer it with heartier flour. I used whole wheat here, but I think rye would be spectacular, too. Our flour options have gone berserk lately, in a good way—thank you gluten-free folks—so let’s have fun with it.
Any type of cooked beet puree will work, but roasting really gives you the maximum concentrated flavor and color. I know this to be a fact, because I roasted just two beets initially (completely forgot about #shrinkage–oh, the jokes) and needed one more in a hurry, so I boiled it. Clear difference!
I used 4 ounces of cream cheese, but dare I say, this could handle more cream cheese? I dare. I dare hard. I think the flour and egg in the swirl provide more than enough stability for you to take this up to 6, or even 8, ounces. Try it! Even if it doesn’t work, you won’t hate me, because cheese.
Swirls get messy. It’s cool.
Serving suggestion: do it.
Serving suggestion for realsies: warm, alongside a huge salad or a pile of roasted vegetables (bonus points if there are beets in there). Perhaps a soup–a simple one like roasted garlic, or mushroom? If you’re making weekend lunch plans, I’m envious already. In a completely friendly and supportive way, of course.
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roasted beet puree (recipe below if you need it)
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 ounces cream cheese (I think 6 would be lovely, too)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- Pinch of salt
- If you need to make roasted beet puree, wrap three washed, trimmed, and dried beets in foil and roast in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes or so, until they're pierced easily with a knife. Cool, peel, and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan by buttering generously.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the beet puree with eggs, milk, and melted butter. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon just until incorporated.
- To make the cream cheese swirl, combine cheese, egg, four, dill, and salt in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
- Spoon about 2/3s of the beet batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges to even out. Dollop cream cheese mixture over it, then top with the rest of the beet mixture. Run a butter knife in a swirling motion through the layers to create the swirl pattern. Smooth out the top somewhat, then bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay).
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.