On a hot summer’s day, a chilled soup is the perfect starter for a supper party. It is essential to prepare it one day in advance so that the flavours have a chance to blend and the purée to thicken slightly.
Mixed fruit soups were particularly popular in pre-war days in Jewish households in the Baltic states, Austria and Germany. This recipe makes the most of all the luscious summer-stone fruits, accented with cinnamon and finished with a dash of creamy fromage frais or Greek yoghurt. You can serve it in a wine glass or a soup bowl as an unusual starter or a dessert.
Keeps 3 days under refrigeration. Freeze for 3 months.
● 225 g (8 oz) ripe peaches
● 450 g (1 lb) stewing plums
● 225 g (8 oz) fresh apricots or the flesh from 1 large mango
● 75-150g (3-5 oz) sugar
● 425 ml (15 fl oz) cold water
● 225 ml (8 fl oz) fruity red wine
● 1 cinnamon stick
● 275 ml (10 fl oz)) creamy fromage frais, Greek cow’s yoghurt or sour cream
● To de-stone the plums, microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Leave till cool enough to handle — the stones will come away easily from the flesh.
● Halve the apricots and discard the stones or, if using a mango, slice the flesh away from the stone. Slice the peaches away from the stones.
● Put all the fruit in a soup pan together with the wine, water, cinnamon stick and 75g sugar.
● The amount of sugar needed will depend on the acidity of the fruit and wine you use, so taste it, and add up to the full 150g if the mixture is very tart.
● Bring to the boil, stirring to ensure the sugar has dissolved, then cover and simmer very gently for 30 minutes or until the flesh has separated from the skins. Allow to cool to room temperature. Discard the cinnamon stick.
● The contents of the pan now have to be puréed without the skins. The quickest way to do this is with a food mill (Moulinex). Otherwise, tip the contents of the soup pan into an ordinary sieve and use a wooden spoon to push down hard on the fruit, leaving the skins behind.
● Chill the fruit purée for a minimum of 3 hours, though overnight is preferable – the flavour develops miraculously.
● After chilling, put two thirds of the yoghurt, fromage frais or sour cream into a small bowl and, using a batter whisk or small balloon whisk, whisk in about 275 ml (half a pint) of the purée until the mixture is an even colour, then add to the remainder of the soup and whisk again.
● The finished soup should have the texture of thin cream – add a little extra wine (or fruit juice) if it is too thick.
● Keep refrigerated until it is served. To serve, top each serving with a little yoghurt, sour cream or fromage frais.