The problem with summer’s delectable soft fruits is that they spoil before you can blink. Cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, the short-lived berries…they’ll last longer stored in the fridge, but their flavor deteriorates. So I was looking at a bowlful of mixed fruit and thinking that they wouldn’t last before they get eaten. My usual strategy is to freeze neglected ripe fruit and make a summer wine when about 3 kg. have accumulated. But we’re moving house in August; not a good summer for homebrewing this year. I’ve made all the jams, chutneys and liqueurs that I want.
Then I remembered: fruit soup. It’s quickly made and depending on the amount of sugar, serves either as a first course or as dessert. Really welcome in hot weather. Everyone likes it, little people spooning it up as eagerly as the big folks.
This is what you do:
makes 5-6 cups
4 cups fresh summer stone fruit: I had cherries, apricots, plums, and peaches.
2 cups water
For a dessert: 1 cup sugar and a cinnamon stick
For a first course: 1/2 cup sugar and a strip of orange peel
1 1/2 tsp. corn starch – or use up some of that leftover Passover potato starch
1. Pit the apricots and peaches. Check the cherries first for bumps and dimples that may indicate worms, and discard any suspicious-looking fruit. If you’re still concerned about worms, pit them by all means. The plums are difficult to pit and a lot of their juice gets lost in the messy process, so leave them alone.
Note: When measuring, try to cram in as much fruit as you into the corners of the measuring cup without squashing it.
2. Put the water in a pan. Add the fruit and orange peel/cinnamon stick; simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off the flame and cover the pan.
4. Ladle some of the liquid into a cup and allow it cool. When it’s just only warm, mix the corn starch into it. Mix very well and add it to the pan. Stir gently again.
5. When the soup is cool, refrigerate it. Serve cold, plain for a meat meal or topped with plain whipped cream for a dairy dessert. It’s delicious plain, actually, and of course if omitting the cream, it’s also fat-free.
Another note: Don’t use apples or melons in fruit soup as those will go mushy right away and make your soup look like applesauce. If you have to, though, add them just after the sugar and steam them lightly on top of everything else.