When I think of summer in southern Australia, I think of the hot, dry, blustery winds, bushfires, school holidays, barbecues and Christmas. But what I really look forward to is summer fruit. Nothing epitomises summer more for me than stone fruit, berries and figs. The first signs of these fruit in the shops only bring disappointment and discouragement with the high prices. “These are probably inferior. Better to wait a few more weeks”, I console myself to prevent spending a fortune for a few pieces of fruit.By berries, I don’t mean strawberries which are available year round but raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and the like. These, along with figs, have quite a short season but that makes me appreciate them even more. One of my fond memories is of picking wild blackberries by the roadside while on a day trip and eating the fruit straight off the vines, forgetting for a moment the pricks from the sharp thorns and the stains on the fingers from the juice of the berries.
Of late, I’ve enjoyed raspberries with trifle and bircher muesli, but what I picked up at the local shop the other day were some boysenberries, red currants and peaches. At A$10 a punnet, the berries and currants were relatively expensive so I was quite jealous that Deborah of nesting notes had come across a sale at her local grocer. I really need to find a place to buy cheaper fruit! I never really thought much about the boysenberry but it turns out to be a cross between the raspberry, blackberry and loganberry, the last fruit itself a cross between a raspberry and blackberry.
With these fruit, I decided to create a dessert ‘soup’.
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 punnet (120g) red currants, stems removed
4 freestone peaches
1 punnet (120g) boysenberries
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and add half of the red currants. Once the berries burst, take off the heat and let cool. Strain over a bowl by gently pressing the berries. Chill in refrigerator.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. In the meantime, halve the peaches and remove the stones. Blanch the peaches for 30-60 seconds until the skins loosen. Plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Remove skins from the peaches.
To serve, divide soup equally into bowls. Place two half peaches and boysenberries into each bowl.
This is one of those desserts which is easy to make but looks fantastic. It doesn’t really need anything else to go with it but you could jazz things up by serving this with ice-cream or cream, or I’ve made a similar dessert with the addition of pannacotta. The currants can be replaced with fresh strawberries processed with the sugar syrup and the boysenberries with a dark coloured berry like blueberry or blackberry (for contrast with the red soup).