Lychee Shiso Sorbet

July 11, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
In This Recipe


  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!

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