I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017 with delicious food and wine. As my first contribution to this, I present to you homemade lychee ice cream. Lychees are a tropical fruit with a complex delicious aroma and flavor. When turned into ice cream, they become a very special treat. It is a bit of work to peel them and remove the seeds to produce the fresh lychee juice needed to make this recipe, but believe me, it is worth it! Most of the complex delicious aroma will be gone when you use store-bought lychee juice for this (which in most cases isn’t 100% lychee juice in the first place).
Makes about 750 ml (3 cups)
500 ml (2 cups) fresh lychee juice, from about 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of lychees
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
100 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar
4 egg yolks
Combine 4 eggs with 100 grams of fine sugar in a bowl.
Whisk until pale and creamy. The color change can be clearly seen in the photo, and requires less than a minute of whisking.
Add 250 ml of cream.
Transfer this mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, to a temperature of 85C/185F. Then turn off the heat. You have now made a custard that would be called crème anglaise if you also included vanilla. This step doesn’t only cook the egg yolks so you don’t have to worry about salmonella, but it also binds the sugar with the cream for a better texture of the ice cream.
Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate to cool fully.
Time to make lychee juice. Cut around each lychee with a paring knife, through the skin until you get to the pit.
Remove the skin.
Remove the seed.
Repeat until you have peeled all of the lychees. You will still see some brown skin that was around where the seed used to be, but we will eliminate that in the next step.
Put the lychees in a blender…
…and blend until smooth.
Use a sieve or even better a food mill fitted with a fine sieve…
…to remove all of the solids from the juice.
Now add the juice to the custard, and allow to cool together.
Churn the lychee juice and custard mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions to obtain lychee ice cream.
You can now serve at once, or transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze it. Allow the ice cream to ‘warm up’ to about -10C/14F before serving by moving it from the freezer to the refrigerator about half an hour before.
Gewurztraminer is famous for having aromas of lychees, so a sweet wine made from this grape variety is a great choice that will work very well as long as it is indeed very sweet. Dry wines from gewurztraminer may seem sweet, but they only smell sweet and are in fact dry. They would be terrible with this ice cream. So look for late harvest, vendanges tardives or passito, like this Pasithea Oro from Girlan in Alto Adige, Italy. It was outstanding together with the ice cream, because not only the aromas but also the acidity worked very well with the natural acidity of the lychees.
Ravioli with shrimp, coconut and green curry is a pretty crazy Thai-Italian fusion dish, but it sure is delicious!