Gettin’ Fancy

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.

But that's not the important part.
But that's not the important part.

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.

Don't eat that rosebud, it's crunchy and just for garnish. I mean, it's perfectly edible, just...not tasty.
Don't eat that rosebud, it's crunchy and just for garnish. I mean, it's perfectly edible, just...not tasty.

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.

My first attempt at quenelles. Two spoons, one inexperienced sorbet/ice cream fiend. You can see how that went.
My first attempt at quenelles. Two spoons, one inexperienced sorbet/ice cream fiend. You can see how that went.

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.

Plated desserts are not my forte. But that's something I will be formally learning soooo I'm not too discouraged.
Plated desserts are not my forte. But that's something I will be formally learning soooo I'm not too discouraged.

Lychee-Rose Sorbet

  1. 1/3 cup boiling water
  2. 1-2 dried rosebuds, crushed slightly
  3. 1 lb. fresh lychees (weight measured with skins on and pits in)
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 2-3 Tbsp Monin or other rose-flavored syrup
  6. 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!

10 Comments

  1. This is why I am such a fan of yours – I just know you will have one million experiences like this. Big cities are foodie havens, and I don’t live anywhere near one myself!

  2. Your sorbet looks delicious! I also live in a big city and yeah, it is really convenient to find about all the ingredients I need for any kind of recipe!

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