Choose sweet, flavorful plums for this soup and allow them to get perfectly ripe. I often take this on a picnic, transporting it in a glass jar with a screw top and then serving it in cups.

SERVES 4 AS A FIRST COURSE

9 to 10 ripe plums (about 2 pounds), washed

ВЅ cup dry red wine

ВЅ cup water

ВЅ teaspoon ground coriander

в…› teaspoon ground allspice

Вј teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

ВЅ cup heavy cream

1 cup sour cream

Mint sprigs for garnish

  1. Fill a medium saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil. In batches blanch the plums for 10 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon to your work surface. Discard the water when all have been blanched. Peel the plums and put the skins in the saucepan along with the red wine and the ВЅ cup of water. Bring to a boil, cook 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  2. With a slotted spoon remove the skins and put in a strainer and rest it over the pan. Press out as much liquid as you can, then discard the skins. (Cooking the skins flavors and colors the soup.)
  3. Make sure the plums don’t have any skin adhering to them. Cut them into bite-size pieces and discard the pits. Add them to the wine mixture along with the coriander, allspice, salt, and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. In the container of the blender or food processor pure the mixture with the heavy cream. Pour into a large bowl. Chill at least 1ВЅ hours, or until very cold.
  5. Before serving whisk in the sour cream until perfectly blended. Serve chilled, garnished with a mint sprig on each serving.