Exotic Fruit Soup in a Sugar Cage ►
While fruit soups are uncommon in the United States, in the cuisines of Northern Europe they are served both as an appetizer and as dessert. This soup is elegant and easy to make. If you don’t want to make the caramel, serve the soup with a few crisp cookies for the same textural contrast. The soup may be prepared up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. The sugar cages may be prepared at the same time and kept at room temperature in a dry room.
- Fruit Soup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Water - 2 cups
- Fresh Zest - 1 lemon
- Bananas - 2
- Mango - 1, peeled and pitted
- Kiwis - 2, peeled
- Papaya - 1, peeled and seeded
- Sugar Cage
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1/2 cup, hot
- Cream of Tartar - 1/8 teaspoon
- Mint - 2 sprigs
To make the soup: Combine the sugar, water, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar melts, brushing any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush. Set aside and let cool.
Peel the bananas and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut the rest of the fruit into 1/2-inch dice. Add the fruit to the syrup, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the sugar cages: Combine the sugar, hot water, and cream of tartar in a small, heavy saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer into the syrup and heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 310 F, or it just begins to turn amber color. Turn off the heat and let the sugar cool for a few minutes.
Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil spray, then wipe the baking sheet with a paper towel to remove any excess. Or, line a baking sheet with a silicone liner. Working quickly, use a fork to drizzle the caramel across the baking sheet to outline a 4-by-6-inch rectangle. Make one pattern of parallel lines diagonally within the outline, then tilt the baking sheet and make cross-hatching lines in the other direction within the outline, creating a diagonal grid. Make two grids. Let cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to cut off any drizzles outside the lines. Let cool completely.
To serve: Distribute the fruit soup into two shallow soup bowls and garnish with fresh mint. Lay one sugar cage rectangle partially across each bowl of soup.