One of the things I love most about living in New York is that I no longer have to drive an hour each way (or at all!) or even hunt for slightly unusual ingredients. Nope, many items that before I could only dream of finding are right in the generally dirt-cheap grocery store downstairs. Heaven, I tell you. HEAVEN.
You may remember that back in Maine I could only get semi-exotic goodies like lychees canned and in syrup. And yes, I did drive all the way to Portland for them. You can imagine my utter delight when I came out of the wrong exit at the Canal Street station and ended up face to face with a fruit cart piled high with fresh lychees, rambutans, longans, dragonfruit and both Bing and Rainier cherries. I brought home a pound of lychees and my very first dragonfruit, half of which was a tasty breakfast and the other half was an even tastier breakfast the next day, after freezing it.
I decided to take my lovely (smallish) bounty of beautifully fat and pink lychees and turn them into sorbet, because it’s summer and I can. I also decided to infuse them with rose, by infusing the water used in the sorbet with dried rosebuds. I also added a little Monin rose syrup, since I had read recently that using syrups in sorbets will help their texture.
The sorbet came out sweet and wonderfully perfumed, but it was clearly missing something. You know what that is.
Unfortunately I had to leave my raspberry wine in Maine (traveling with my half-empty wine and liquor bottles seemed like a Very Bad Idea so I only brought one…whaaaat? The bottle is plastic and nobody else has a use for cheap blackberry brandy) so I ended up buying some fresh raspberries downstairs. I felt a little cheap just defaulting to Ispahan but the sorbet was so sweet and flowery, it really needed a lovely tart contrast.
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1-2 dried rosebuds, crushed slightly
- 1 lb. fresh lychees (weight measured with skins on and pits in)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp Monin or other rose-flavored syrup
- 1 Tbsp tequila, vodka or raspberry liqueur (I used tequila because I had it on hand and I think it’s slightly fruity)
Pour the boiling water over the rosebuds and steep 5-10 minutes. Strain out the flowers and chill thoroughly.
Peel and pit the lychees, then combine them with the other ingredients in a blender and puree thoroughly. Churn in an ice cream maker or follow my directions for frozen treats without a machine (though I do recommend a machine for sorbets) and transfer to a container to freeze until hard and scoopable. Serve with fresh raspberries, either whole or crushed into a sauce.
I know these pictures may not be as nice as the ones I used to take – I no longer have a Very Sunny Corner next to giant windows and a glass door. These were taken in my kitchen, which does not get very good light. But my living room does and one of these days I’m going to set up a spot for photos. It was just really hot the day I photographed this sorbet and I didn’t want it melting too much. I am still getting used to working in my new space but things will be back up to par soon!