This showcases the versatility of root vegetables. The natural sweetness of parsnips makes for a tasty, if unusual, dessert. Carrots, too, and also, I think, winter squash would make for good ice cream.

This type of ice cream, made without eggs, is called Philadelphia-style. Philly ice cream is having a renaissance of sorts in the culinary world–the style allows the flavors of the fruit(s) or vegetable(s) to come through more, and it’s much more simple to make. Two caveats–you do need an ice cream maker for this recipe; and you need to add a tablespoon or two of alcohol (vodka, rum) or liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave) for a softer texture.

6 c peeled, finely chopped parsnips
1 c milk
8 T sugar plus 2 T liquid sweetener or 10 T sugar plus 2 T alcohol
2 c heavy cream

1. Combine the parsnips, milk, sugar, and liquid sweetener (but not the alcohol) in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the parsnips are very very soft.

2. Put the mixture, the alcohol, if using, and the cream into a blender. Purée until very very smooth. You may want to strain this through a fine-meshed sieve. Transfer to a metal bowl and chill, covered, for at least two hours.

3. Transfer to your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions–it’s usually about 25 minutes. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving, or in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.