PARSNIPS

Parsnips are sweet and crunchy with an interesting backnote of flavor that is ever so slightly menthol or minty, which makes them taste a little more refreshing and vibrant than a carrot in my opinion. 

parsnipyumParsnips are sweet and crunchy, with an interesting backnote of flavor that is ever so slightly menthol or minty, which makes them taste a little more refreshing and vibrant than a carrot in my opinion. Today’s flavor comes straight from a traditional Sunday roast done exceptionally well by Graham Thomson at the Seven Stars Inn in Bottlesford. Roasted parsnips are a traditional ingredient on the Sunday roast venue all across the country, but that’s not all they are good for. Parsnips can enhance any number of culinary endeavors both savory and sweet. In fact, one of their earliest recorded uses is as a sweetener and an aphrodisiac in Roman times. Use of the parsnip is also recorded in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is noted for its sweet, bitter and warming qualities.

From a health perspective, parsnips are a fantastic way to get your vitamins and minerals. They have a significant amount of potassium, iron, copper, and manganese, as well as being rich in Vitamin C, B, K, and E. They also have similar properties to their close relatives the carrot and turnip, which include phytonutrients that are beneficial in decreasing systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. They also contain flavonoids that are anti-fungal. Research demonstrates that the chemical compounds found in the parsnip help maintain colon health and decrease the potential for colon cancers, as well as maintaining healthy blood cells and decrease the potential for leukemia.  Parsnips are also high in fiber and although they are sweeter than carrots once cooked they are still on the lower side of the glycemic index.

Here’s a delicious sounding maple and parsnip cake recipe from Catherine Berwick. I haven’t tried it yet, but you can bet as soon as I get some Maple Syrup, I will be whipping this up.

Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and
  • grated
  • 1 medium eating apple,
  • peeled, cored and grated
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • zest and juice 1 small orange
  • icing sugar, to serve

For the filling

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup

Method

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Divide between the tins, then bake for 25-30 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Cool the cakes slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving