This is part of my New Years Resolution.
Sometimes called "lychee nuts", the lychee is actually a fruit with a small dense pit about the size and shape of a pine nut. The fruit is easily recognized by its exotic spiky red skin. (One is visible in the foreground of the photo.)
Difficult to find uncanned, it's available fresh for several weeks each summer. It can usually be found in asian grocery stores, since it is a popular ingredient in southeast asian cuisine.
I chose to make lychee parfait from the tiny fresh fruits. (I know, not a very traditional use of lychee; but I like cooking creatively!) The layers were lychee jello, vanilla pudding, and granola. The lychee gelatine was made from scratch (okay, I didn't boil hooves to make my own gelatine) and the rest were purchased.
I used Knox unflavored gelatine to create the jello layers. (I know, Jell-O is properly a trademark; I'm using it generically here.) A pairing knife separated the lychees and cut up the flesh of the fruit into small shreds which were mixed into the jello as it was setting. In the process of cutting up the lychees I generated about a cup of juice which was used as a base for the gelatine mix.
Since the jello recipe called for four cups of liquid, this actually made for a somewhat weaker flavor than I would've liked. If I do this again, I'll fill it out with white grape juice.
By the way, the lychee pit is surrounded by a fibrous coating that tends to separate with the flesh of the fruit. Removing the flesh from this inner membrane was very tedious and difficult. Does anyone out there know if there are any secrets to preparing lychees to get around this?
The color of the jello is the result of a bit of creative food coloring. I don't know what, if any, is the accepted color for lychee flavorings so I went with a sunset orange. It's about 18 parts yellow, 9 parts red, 1 part blue.
I really liked this one! The lychee has a delicate sweet flavor, somewhat reminiscent of grapes with a floral note. It made for a subtle and excellent gelatine.
So... Did everyone think I'd forgotten about the new ingredients posts? :) Sorry for the long gap there but unemployment and being busy with other projects have made money and time short. I still plan to get in as many ingredients as possible... but it remains to be seen whether I can make my goal for the year.