"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
It’s been very hot this week. 36c hot or somewhere in the high 90’s. That may not sound so bad but here in the dry, Jerusalem hills it means heat like an oven door is open in the sky. It means forget your usual go to meals during the week, it’s time to make fruit soup.
My grandmother, Rena, was a the original fruit soup maker. She’d take lots of plums and whatever else was bruised in the stone fruit variety – peaches, nectarines and apricots – and cook it up with lots of sweet wine and a cinnamon stick. You’d have it in a glass, of course, with a dollop of sour cream. And the good news? It was a lot less scary than cold borscht – beet soup – or greenish-yellow schav – sorrel soup.
When the mercury hit 36 yesterday, I took out a pot and started a batch. Peering into the fridge, I became aware that we had a plum shortage for fruit soup but we did have the last of the weekend’s apricots quietly malingering and getting softer in the fridge. This recipe is one that I promise you can make without an exact recipe.
2-3 kilo or about 5 pounds of fruit – no reason to panic, that’s about 20 pieces of fruit depending on size and weight. It will make about 17 cups of soup – which will go quickly. Fruit should be pitted and quartered. I used lots of apricots and smaller amount of plums and nectarines.
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, halved.
1 orange, halved.
cheesecloth bag or tea bag with 6 whole allspice, 2-3 star anise, 6-8 whole cloves
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate syrup
1/4 cup honey – to taste
Optional: 1 cup of sweet red wine or white wine
Water – start with 2 cups and you’ll add more when you add the fruit.
In an 8 quart pot, bring the liquids and spices, along with the lemon and orange to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the aroma is developed. Taste for sweetness and tartness. Add the fruit in and stir. Add water – not to cover, but so that the fruit is floating around comfortably, about another 2 cups. Cook until fruit is tender – about 20 minutes.
Cool. Remove lemon, orange and spices. Puree with stick blender. Refrigerate.
Serve cold with a dollop of yogurt, or sour cream and a sprig of mint.