When I swung by one of my local farmer’s markets last week for my at-least weekly visit, there they all were, beckoning brightly to me in the warm afternoon sun. Hundreds, or so it seemed, of juicy plums, pluots, nectarines and peaches overflowing on so many tables. I had gone to the market thinking about autumn squash, but the warm, shiny, plush fruit swayed me. I knew this would be one of the last weeks I’d see this particular bounty until next summer and decided to give in, and heed their call to me.
The peaches I bought sadly turned out to be a tad mealy, so they went into a butter (think apple butter with peaches) to spread on toast to enjoy the next couple months with my morning tea. Next I moved onto the plums and pluots for one of my favorite summer soups, made all the more special knowing this would be a sweet goodbye until next July ushers in the next harvest of stone fruit.
The first think you might notice about the soup is that technically this isn’t a plum soup. It’s really a pluot-plum soup since I went with mostly pluots and a few plums, but that felt like a really clumsy name, so I stuck with the Plum Soup title.
Pluots, you all may know, are a cross between plums and apricots but shouldn’t be confused with plumcots or apriums, both of which are ALSO plum-apricot hybrids. A quick primer, in case you’re interested: Plumcots are the first-generation hybrids and pluots are later-generation. Pluots generally have more characteristics of plums than of apricots, while apriums are a similar hybrid exhibiting more traits of apricots than plums. Got it? Anyway, I’ve been making my Plum Soup this way for a couple of years now as I’ve found that I prefer the brightness the apricot adds to the soup, but if you’re hankering for a deep plum flavor, by all means stick with all plums. This is a perfect and easy way to use the last of the plums and pluots still coming into the markets – I don’t think they’ll last much longer!
Plum (Pluot) Soup
- Don’t treat the twists of ground black pepper lightly – you’ll be amazed at the difference this makes!
- Plums and pluots can have a range of tart/sweet, so I recommend adding only three-quarters of the wine and agave to start with and then add more as needed. And adjusting for sweetness is particularly important if you go with all plums on this recipe!
- I rarely remove the skin of plums before cooking them – in fact I can’t even remember when I last did, but especially for a dish like this or for preserved fruit. The flavor will be much better if the skin and fruit are cooked together to mingle their flavors. For preserved fruit, I don’t strain out the skins ever after cooking, but for this soup I do for the texture.
- 1 ½ pound pluots
- ½ pound plums
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sweet white wine such as Gewurztraminer
- ½ cup agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- a few twists of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ½ cup sour cream
- Pit and chop up the plums and pluots.
- Place in a large pot with the water, wine, agave nectar, lime juice and spices. I like to use my wide-mouthed Le Creuset pot for this. Simmer until the fruit begins to fall apart. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
- Puree with an immersion blender or food processor and strain over a large bowl to remove the plum skins
- Whisk in the sour cream.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- See how easy that was?