Alma’s Peach Fruit Soup

Fruit soup is a summer staple at RedQuarters, when there is sufficient good fruit. This recipe started as a Scandinavian blueberry soup and got changed, as tends to happen. After the Year Without Peaches, peach became a regular flavor of choice. You can also use blueberries*, or strawberries. I’d go easy on the spices for strawberry.

2 lb ripe peaches (4-7, depending on size)

whole milk OR half-and-half OR non-dairy creamer

cinnamon and/or cloves and/or ginger and/or other sweet spices

sugar or other sweetener (if needed)

What kind of peaches? Whatever is available, although I wouldn’t use very expensive super-sweet fruit or the pit-less kind. This time I used the less expensive of the available varieties, since they felt ripe and looked good.

Bring enough water to a simmer to cover the peaches. I put them in after the water has been heating for a minute or two. Simmer on medium for 3-5 minutes. You want to heat the fruit through and loosen the skins. Move the fruit into a colander and allow to cool enough to handle. I slit the skins to start letting the heat out.

While the peaches are cooling, get out a mixing bowl and either a blender or a food processor. I prefer a blender, but we have a seriously strong blender. This tends to splatter, so something with a cover is ideal. Peel the peaches. This should be very easy since you have loosened the skins. Do not burn yourself! Cut the peaches apart. I usually end up cutting a few slices out and then leaving the peach in the bowl to cool more as I skin the rest. Once you have peeled and pitted all the peaches, start adding them to the blender. Puree them. You may need to do this in batches.

Return the fruit puree to the bowl. Add spices, about one tablespoon of cinnamon, or a teaspoon and a half of the other spices. It depends on how spicy you want things, and you will want to correct the flavor. If the fruit seems sour, add your preferred sweetener, a little less than you think is sweet enough. This should not be pie sweet, but not mouth-puckering, either.

Now, add your milk/half-and-half/creamer until the soup changes from a stiff puree to a thick, creamy soup. At least a cup, possibly up to two cups of liquid, and you can combine different creams. After the first cup, sample to check for consistency and spices. Sample again after you reach the thickness you desire and correct the spices and sweetness if needed.

Chill for at least two hours before serving. Serves 6-8 as either a first course or dessert. I do not garnish this, but a spring of mint or a little sprinkle of cinnamon looks nice.

*For blueberries, you will need two cups of fruit or so. Rinse and pick through. Heat with two cups of water to boiling and simmer for three minutes. Add two teaspoons Knox or agar to thicken. Proceed as above, keeping in mind that the blend will thicken as it chills. I wouldn’t use ginger with blueberries, but cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and other sweet spices are good.

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