Yield
Serves 4 to 6

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.

The Soup
 

  • 2 1/2 cups red raspberries or mixed raspberries, red currants, and strawberries (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • Few drops lemon juice or 1 teaspoon rose water

The Fruit

  • 3 or 4 peaches or nectarines, white and/or yellow fleshed
  • 1 scant cup mixed berries, such as golden raspberries, blackberries, and currants
  • 2 rose geranium leaves with their blossoms, lavender sprigs, or sprays of currants for garnish

Instructions

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.