Peaches (or nectarines), raspberries, red currants, strawberries, and other berries that share the season are happy companions. And this is the place to use small amounts of garden treasure, such as a handful of fraises des bois, a perfect little strawberry, or a sprig of golden currants.
While the fruit will be plenty for some, others might want a bit more in the bowl. It could be a scoop of ice cream, Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, or mousse.
1. To make the soup, put the berries in a small pan with the sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes, breaking up the fruit with a masher or pestle. Turn off the heat, let stand for 5 minutes, and then pour into a sieve. Using a rubber scraper, force out as much juice as possible. You should have about 1 1/4 cups. Let cool, then stir in the lemon juice or rose water, adding more to taste if desired. Cover and refrigerate.
2. For the fruit, dip the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 5 seconds, then remove them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Slip off the skins. (Or refrigerate the fruit with the skins intact until needed.)
3. To serve, set out shallow bowls and divide the soup among them. Slice the peeled peaches and divide them among the bowls. Scatter the berries among the sliced fruits, saving any extra-special fruits, such as a spray of currants or fraises des bois, for the crowning touch. Add a scoop of yogurt, ice cream, or other embellishment if desired, then top with the rose geranium leaves and their blossoms, lavender sprigs (with some of the individual blossoms removed and scattered over the fruit), or sprays of currants.
Note: If you don't have access to fresh local raspberries, make the fruit soup using frozen ones.
Excerpted with permission from Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market by Deborah Madison. © 2010, Clarkson Potter.
Deborah Madison is a chef, writer and cooking teacher. She is the founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. She is the author of several books, including Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm and Market, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers Markets. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Gourmet, Saveur, Orion and Culinate.com. She has received the M.F.K. Fisher Award, the IACP’s Julia Child Cookbook of the Year award, and three James Beard awards.