Inspired by the idea of Turkish delight, but with more subtle flavours, this is a simple and delicate dessert that highlights the floral flavour of the fruit. The silky jelly contains jewel-like pieces of lychee, with a slightly savoury and textural pistachio crumb.
- 200 g caster sugar
- 300 ml water
- 2 vanilla pods, split and scraped
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tsp river salt
- ½ tsp rosewater
- 200 g peeled and seeded lychees (See Note)
- 50 ml lemon juice
- 2 gelatine leaves (titanium-strength)
- ½ cup pistachios, lightly toasted
- ½ tsp salt flakes
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: overnight
Place the sugar, water, vanilla pods, bay leaves and salt into a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Add in the rosewater.
Place half of the lychee flesh in a blender with the lemon juice and rose syrup and puree until they are broken down. Strain this mix through a fine strainer. You should have about 600 ml liquid.
Soften your gelatine in cold water, the squeeze out the water.
Place half the liquid into a small saucepan and warm slightly. Add in the gelatine, whisk to combine and then add in the rest of the liquor.
Take 4 nice serving glasses and divide the reserved lychee pieces among them. Pour over the jelly mix. Once the jelly has cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to fully set, about 4 hours.
Place the pistachios in a mortar and pestle and roughly pound with the salt and pepper, making sure to leave some large chunks. Set aside.
When you are ready to serve, remove the glasses from the fridge and serve with the pistachio crumb sprinkled over the top.
• Peel and seed all the lychees over a bowl to capture the juices. You can tear the flesh from the seed as they don’t need to be in pretty pieces; however, do try and keep some pieces slightly larger.
• If you happen to have any edible rose petals lying around, pop a few in the jelly with the lychee pieces - this is purely for looks and glamour.
Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by O Tama Carey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.
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