Lychee Shiso Sorbet

July 11, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves about 1 quart
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.

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

What You'll Need
  • 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • healthierkitchen
  • TaoistCowgirl
  • kmartinelli
  • edamame2003
  • gingerroot

Recipe by: gingerroot

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.

10 Reviews

toriless September 19, 2014
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.
healthierkitchen July 7, 2011
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!
gingerroot July 7, 2011
I hope you'll find some! They are a summer treat out of hand as well. : )
TaoistCowgirl June 29, 2011
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!
gingerroot July 7, 2011
Thanks, TaoistCowgirl! Hope you enjoy if you try it. It is one of my summer favorites.
kmartinelli June 29, 2011
Oh yum! What a beautiful flavor combination! I've had it in cocktails together but never in a sorbet. Love it.
gingerroot June 29, 2011
Thanks so much, k! I've never had it in a cocktail, but now that you mention it...
edamame2003 June 28, 2011
lychee and shiso? thats crazy talk. and i am running out to try the combo immediately!
Sagegreen June 28, 2011
I'm game, too!
gingerroot June 29, 2011
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.