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.
Test Kitchen Notes
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. - biffbourgeois —Stephanie Bourgeois
about 1 quart
light agave nectar
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)
small meyer lemon and 1 small lime for scant 1/4 cup of lemon-lime juice
In This Recipe
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.
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.
Roll remaining four shiso leaves and cut into chiffonade.
Combine chilled syrup (discarding steeped shiso), lychee fruit, citrus juice and shiso in a blender. Puree to combine.
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!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.