This wonderful ruby-colored cold fruit soup is an exuberant celebration of summer and red fruit, and is equally at home in a soup bowl as a first course or in a martini glass as a dessert. Even in the heart of summer, I make this cold fruit soup with frozen berries and rhubarb, just because nothing can beat their sweetness and ease of preparation. Frozen berries would not be just an acceptable substitute: they would be quite wonderful, as frozen fruit are picked at their sweetest and ripest. Try them in this recipe. The fact that they are a little bruised by freezing will not matter in the least since we are cooking them. Of course, if you have lots of beautiful fresh berries and/or rhubarb on hand, go ahead and use them. In season, add plums, cherries, etc.
- green apples - 2, (granny smith) peeled and cut in chunks
- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pitted cherries, plums - 10 cups total. fresh or frozen- any combination you like
- dry red wine - 2 cups
- unsweetened cranberry or pomegranate juice - 4 cups
- Creme de Cassis - 1/4 cup (liqor stores; Passover: any nice berry liqueur)
- lime or lemon juice - from 2, fresh
- maple syrup - 1/2- 2/3 cup (start with less and wait until you taste the finished soup to add more)
- tapioca flour or cornstarch - 1/2 cup, whisked with a little cold water until smooth (for Passover: tapioca or potato starch)
- Spice mixture tied in cheesecloth:
- lemon peel - 1 large piece
- orange peel - 1 large piece
- cloves - 6
- black peppercorns - 10
Bring all but last ingredient to boil in a heavy pot. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the tapioca mixture, and cook 10 more minutes, no more. Remove the cheesecloth. Cream the soup with an immersion blender, but not completely. Leave up to half the soup chunky. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Chill completely before serving. Serve as a first course, alone or with a scoop of plain yogurt (dairy-free perfect too), or as a dessert, alone or with a scoop of coconut sorbet.
Variation: Strawberry Rhubarb Soup
Use 10 cups combined strawberries and rhubarb, and no other berries. Proceed exactly as above. You might need to add more maple syrup, rhubarb being quite tart.