Lychee Shiso Sorbet

By • July 11, 2010 10 Comments

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Author Notes: In Hawai`i, July means lychee at the Farmer’s Market; whoever first thought to peel away the ripe red armor-like skin to reveal such a sweet, juicy white-fleshed fruit was (a) savvy and probably very hungry and (b) justly rewarded. Paired with shiso (thanks to Teri for the inspired use of this lovely, flavorful leaf, which in turn inspired my use of it here), this sorbet tastes just like the clear ume candy I used to love as a child. - gingerroot
Note: The lychee makes this quite sweet – I would not want to add any more sugar for my own palate. However because there is relatively little agave in the simple syrup the texture is more like a very soft, fine granita.

Food52 Review: This refreshing and subtle sorbet is perfect for hot summer days. The flavor combo is delightful. It's not quite as smooth as a sorbet, but the structure it obtains from churning in an ice cream machine is still less icy than a granita. - biffbourgeoisStephanie Bourgeois

Serves about 1 quart

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup light agave nectar
  • 6 shiso leaves (I used green)
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled ripe lychee (the fruit I had was very ripe so I had them in the refrigerator - I've found the colder everything is to begin with the better for the final concotion)
  • 1 small meyer lemon and 1 small lime for scant 1/4 cup of lemon-lime juice
  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the water and agave in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or glass jar (I used a 2 cup pyrex measure). Roll two shiso leaves between your fingers to lightly bruise, add these to the simple syrup. Steep overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Over a glass bowl (or if you have one, a quart sized pyrex measure) peel and pit the lychee, roughly breaking the fruits in half. They are very juicy when ripe so be sure to catch all of the juices in your bowl. Even after removing the pit, lychee also have a thin, dark, semi-hard membrane on the inside. Although imperceptible when you are eating the fruit alone, I tried to cut away the darkest and hardest parts. What I did not cut away are the brown nutty looking flecks in the photo.
  3. Roll remaining four shiso leaves and cut into chiffonade.
  4. Combine chilled syrup (discarding steeped shiso), lychee fruit, citrus juice and shiso in a blender. Puree to combine.
  5. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to your manufacturer's directions. After 30 minutes my sorbet was still very soft but I was short on time so I packed it and froze longer for a firmer texture. Enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Fruit|Desserts|Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts|Ice Cream

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Comments (10) Questions (0)


11 months ago toriless

I assume that about 3 1/2 TB from the Meyer Lemon since that what I got? Leaving 1 TB from the lime? If I use zest from the Meyer Lemon, which I put into the syrup solution I should use less juice or just add it in. The zest is more orange-like then the juice but it goes well with the Agave. I had to use Lychee juice instead since I could no find the fruit so I'm using no water and using a traditional heated infusion for the Perilla and zest. I doubt I'll loose as much water as I'd like but the 25% was pure juice without much pulp like if using a whole fruit so that should help a little bit but I have very little choice on how to remove even more water other then heat it again after the infusion is done.

Gingerroot - using 1 TB of the right liquor per batch will make any fruit based sorbet or jam "pop". The trick is finding the right one for each fruit which is not always obvious. For instance I use Pernod (I think only a 1-2 ts though since it is so intense) with Grapefruit but not with Peaches o Nectarines. I use certain "anise" class herbs instead for those but I'm not revealing which ones.


about 4 years ago healthierkitchen

don't know if I'll ever find fresh lychee around here, but if I do, I will snap it up and make this. The shiso I'm growing from seed is finally coming up!


about 4 years ago gingerroot

I hope you'll find some! They are a summer treat out of hand as well. : )


about 4 years ago TaoistCowgirl

This sounds amazing! I might buy an ice cream maker just so I can try this. There can't be enough recipes with shiso in them for my taste!


about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, TaoistCowgirl! Hope you enjoy if you try it. It is one of my summer favorites.


about 4 years ago kmartinelli

Oh yum! What a beautiful flavor combination! I've had it in cocktails together but never in a sorbet. Love it.


about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, k! I've never had it in a cocktail, but now that you mention it...


about 4 years ago edamame2003

lychee and shiso? thats crazy talk. and i am running out to try the combo immediately!


about 4 years ago Sagegreen

I'm game, too!


about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thank you Eda and SG! It is one of my favorite refreshing sorbet combinations, perfect for a hot summer day. Adding some vodka at the end would probably help the texture a bit, although I've never made it that way. I would love to hear your thoughts if you try it.