Although the culinary possibilities are nearly endless, the most common lychee desserts include puddings and gelatin, frozen treats, and pastries. The fruit is also used to make wines and liqueurs. This sweet berry is native to Southeast Asia and is usually eaten fresh since the canning process dulls its fragrant flavor. Similar in appearance to a strawberry, lychee is rich in vitamin C and potassium, and low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
Puddings, gelatin, and jellies are very common types of lychee desserts. The sweet and tropical flavor of the lychee, as well as its golden or white color, offer dramatic culinary results in these dishes. Fresh lychee, like any fresh fruit, can also be used to make jam. Lychee jelly, jam, and lychee-flavored candies can be purchased commercially in many stores.
Many kinds of frozen desserts are made with lychee fruit. Sherbet, ice cream, and sorbet can all be made with lychee puree or pulp, or the fruit itself can be frozen to simulate a lychee-flavored sorbet. Lychee ice cream is often made with milk, sugar, and cream. Malts and milkshakes can also be made with lychee-flavored frozen desserts. The flavor is refreshing yet sweet, and best when very ripe fruit is available.
Lychee can be an alternative to chocolate-flavored or densely-textured cakes and pastries. Lychee fruit, juice, or puree can be added to cake batter as a flavoring. Lychee-flavored cupcakes are a portable alternative to a large cake. A lychee puree or jam can also be used as a cake layer or as a pastry filling. These types of lychee desserts are often light and fragrant.
In addition to lychee desserts, this fruit is used to make sweet wines and liqueurs. Prior to the advent of lychee liqueur, a lychee cocktail had to be made with lychee juice or puree. As a cocktail mixer, lychee is often served with citrus or cranberry-flavored alcoholic beverages, like vodka. Lychee wine is often golden to golden-red, syrupy, and served as a dessert wine.
The lychee fruit is similar in appearance to the strawberry with its bumpy, red skin. This peel is removed before eating and protects the sweet and fragrant white flesh inside. The fruit grow in clusters on the lychee tree, which is found primarily in China and Southeast Asia as well as the United States and South Africa. Cultivated for thousands of years in China, the fruit’s sweetness has long been used in making lychee desserts.
A cup of lychee fruit contains 125 calories with only 7 calories from fat. It is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as dietary fiber and copper. This fruit is extremely low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.