Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Longan Compote with Raspberries and Italain Soda Gelee

Longans are fruits to an everygreen tree that is native to southern China and found in most of south-east asia. Also, according to Wikipedia, it is also called guiyuan (桂圆) in Chinese, lengkeng in Indonesia, mata kucing in Malaysia, and quả nhãn in Vietnamese . The longan ("dragon eyes") is so named because of the fruit's resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris).

This recipe is a take-off from a Gourmet magazine recipe that used Champagne. I made it with Wild Oats Raspberry flavored Natural Italian Soda without alcohol for my kids.

For the Italian Soda Gelee
1 cup sugar
3 cups Raspberry Italian Soda
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice

For the longan compote
1 lb fresh longan or 1 (15-oz) can, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1/2 pint raspberries

Make gelee: Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking pan and line with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang. Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups Italian soda in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over mixture. Let gelatin stand 1 minute to soften.
Cook over moderate heat, gently stirring occasionally (vigorous stirring will create too much foam), just until sugar and gelatin are dissolved.

Slowly pour into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring occasionally. Slowly add lemon juice and remaining 1 1/2 cups Italian soda, stirring just until combined. Let stand 5 minutes, then skim foam.

Continue to cool mixture, gently stirring occasionally, until it mounds slightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer to baking pan and chill, covered, until firm, at least 8 hours.

Make compote while gelee chills: Peel longans. Make a lengthwise slit in each and remove pit, leaving pulp as intact as possible.

Heat longans, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill at least 2 hours.

Just before serving: Invert gelee onto a cutting board, discarding plastic wrap, then trim edges. Cut gelee into 1/2-inch cubes and add to compote with raspberries. Gently mix with a rubber spatula.

This morning the kids had longan and raspberries in mint syrup with their breakfast!

Note: The bubbles in the italian soda makes the gelee fun and interesting, and I think the Champagne would be really good with this dessert. Will try it with alcohol next time.


Little Corner of Mine said...

Yum, another refreshing treat to beat the heat of summer!

Anonymous said...

Oh how delicious and refreshing those both look! Yum!

wonda said...

I love longans. Eaten and cooked milk with Longans agar-agar before but my Japanese friends have never heard nor eaten longans before. They prefer lychees.

Sue Sue said...

Your bowl of longan with raspberries look so refreshing.

Anonymous said...

This Gelee will put everyone in glee during the hotter days :D

Anonymous said...

Looks very refreshing. Without the raspberries, it reminds me of the dessert we used to have in restarants in Malaysia after a banquet. :)

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Thanks C and Kristen!

Thanks Wonda and Sue Sue!

Thanks tigerfish and Judy!

WokandSpoon said...

I love longans as well - haven't had them for agggeeesss!
Good idea with the soda in the jelly - that's quite unusual!

SteamyKitchen said...

I want a bowl for breakfast too!

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Thanks Wokandspoon! Try it with Champagne and tell me what you think!:)

Hi SteamyKitchen,
LOL! Come over and there will be a big bowl for you! :)

Anonymous said...

Gee..what is Italian soda ?

Anonymous said...

My comment went missing. I was asking you about Italian soda. What's that ? I don't see it here :( Any other substitute ? Thx !:)

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi melting wok,
Was out of town, and didn't get to your comment till now...Sorry!
Italian soda is flavored carbonated water. It has the bubbles without the alcohol for this dessert, and I used it cause my kids were having it too. I think you can find it at the grocery stores and Trader's Joes. The original recipe used champagne, so you can substitute with that if you like.