It’s hot. It’s hot, I have a ton of egg yolks in my fridge, and a craving for something sweet. There’s no way I’m touching the oven today so cakes are out of the question. I guess I could make ice cream, but that would require me to pull out the ice cream machine, freeze the bowl, and then go through a multitude of other steps that I really don’t have the patience for right now. So what can I make? A custard, of course!
Lychee, litchi, whatever you want to call it, is an amazing little fruit. I love it for the lightly sweet and delicate floral flavor it provides, and when it’s ripe it’s amazingly juicy.
I know, it looks kinda like a bowl of raw calamari. But it’s delicious, I promise! Within that rough exterior lies a juicy, tender, burst of flavor, just waiting to sweep you off of your feet and into a tropical paradise.
The pudding itself is a creamy custard that is cooked over the stove much like a pastry cream. I topped it with a tart strawberry salsa and a quenelle of airy whipped cream, and garnished it with some lemon zest. The tartness of the strawberries really balances well with the smooth, creamy custard and just gives your mouth a little “pop” when you bite into them.
Lychee Pudding with Strawberry Salsa
For lychee pudding:
134 g fresh lychee (peeled and seeded)
530 g milk
180 g heavy cream
80 g granulated sugar
115 g egg yolks
10 g cornstarch
25 g Soho or other lychee liqueur
30 g butter
For strawberry salsa:
95 g finely diced strawberries
1 g lemon zest, plus more for garnish
15 g guava juice (you could use orange or any other citrus juice really, this is just what i had on hand)
5 g sugar
For lychee pudding: In a food processor, blend lychee meat until completely pulverized. You pretty much don’t want to see any lumps. Strain out any pulp with a fine mesh sieve, and make sure to push on pulp to release all of the juices.
In a medium sized saucepot, combine lychee juice, milk, and cream, and bring to a scald over medium low heat.
In another bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. When milk mixture is hot enough, temper in your yolk mixture, then cook over the stove until custard looks about the consistency of a gravy (this will take a few minutes). You want to stir the pot constantly while it’s cooking to prevent scorching and to keep the eggs from curdling. When the custard is thick and you start to see bubbles forming in the middle of the pot (from boiling), turn off your heat and whisk in your butter and Soho.
Divide your custard between your serving dishes (I divided it between 4 bowls, but these portions were kind of large), then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (but preferably overnight) before serving.
For strawberry salsa: The salsa is best when made the day that you are serving it, so that the fruit doesn’t break down too much with all the citric acid. Combine your finely diced strawberries with the lemon zest, juice, and sugar, and lightly toss them together. Let sit for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves, then divide between your dishes and spoon the salsa on top of your custard. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if you like, then enjoy!