Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fruit Soups

"Fruit soups can be served either at the beginning of a meal as a first course, or they can serve as a dessert. In the first case, they would always be served warm; in the second, warm or cold.

"Granny Smith Apples"
Either fresh or dried fruits can be used to make these dishes, as long as they are ripe. If using dried fruits, you will only need to use one-fourth of the quantity indicated for fresh fruits."

Thus begins the description in Grandma VandenBergh's Dutch cookbook of a series of recipes for something that I would never have thought of  --  soups prepared from various kinds of fruits, including apples, pears, cherries, apricots and peaches.

There are almost identical recipes for apple soup and pear soup. Each calls for:

- 1 liter (4 1/4 cups) water
- 400 grams (2 1/4 cups) sour apples (or ripe pears)
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
- a piece of lemon rind
- about 10 grams (1 teaspoons) sago*

"Peel the apples, cut them in quarters and remove the cores. Set the fruit in boiling water with the lemon rind and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar, remove lemon rind and thicken the soup. Optional  --  pass the soup through a horsehair sieve and serve in a soup tureen."

Apple soup on the stove

The pear recipe is similar, except that the cook is instructed to cut the pears into small pieces and simmer for about an hour. "If the pears are too bland, you may wish to add a bit of lemon juice or black currant juice when cooking. As for the apple soup recipe, you may wish to pass the soup through a horsehair sieve."

A horsehair sieve is obviously a relic of the past. Today's modern cook would use a food processor or a blender for the same purpose. I left my soup as is, with chunks of apple of various sizes floating in the juice, for a more interesting texture.

Apple Soup
For added interest, I sprinkled on a bit of cinnamon. The flavor of this dish was not so different from applesauce, but the texture was quite different. It makes a refreshing and somewhat unusual summer dessert.


*Sago is a starchy product that comes from the pith of certain species of palm trees; you can substitute cornstarch in this recipe and no one will know the difference.

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