Fruit soups are more versatile than you might think. Served chilled, warm or hot, they're surprisingly good for breakfast or as a simple dessert or even a pick-me-up. And they make an unusual first course when the menu includes chicken, turkey or pork, all of which fruit complements.
Properly made with just enough sugar, these soups have a refreshing, fruity taste that's not too sweet. Their clear sheen and satisfying substance (thicker than a consomme, thicker than a bisque) come from using cornstarch or tapioca as a thickener. Flour gives fruit dishes a duller, more opaque finish and is a less reliable thickener for berries and other fruits high in acid.
Serve fruit soups in small portions -- unadorned or garnished with cream (plain or whipped), creme fraiche or plain yogurt -- in stemmed glasses or clear bowls to show off their jewel-like colors.
Peach slices add mellow sweetness to tart raspberry soup. Serve the dried fruit soup on a camping trip or for a cozy weekend breakfast.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
3/4 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 large peach, peeled and thinly sliced
2 baskets (about 3 cups total) raspberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon kirsch liqueur
In 3-quart saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add peach and boil gently for 2 minutes. Add raspberries and bring to a boil again; boil for 1 minute.
Blend in cornstarch mixture; bring again to a boil, stirring until thickened and clear. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and liqueur. Serve hot or chilled.
Dried Fruit Soup
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
3 cups water
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 (8-ounce) packages mixed dried fruits (about 3 cups)
In 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, tapioca, water, orange zest and juice, cinnamon stick and salt, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add fruit and bring to a simmer.
Cover; cook, regulating heat to maintain gentle simmer, until fruits are plump and tender but still retain their shapes (20 to 25 minutes). Serve warm.