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Italian splashes ... they are super-fruity.

In the heat of summer, Italians splash intensely flavored fruit syrup into cold water to make a thirst-quenching drink.

Similarly, you can capture the summer perfection of some of our Western fruits in syrups to enjoy now and later with water or wine, or in other refreshing ways.

Because these syrups--made with berries, peaches, plums, or citrus juices--undergo a fermentation process, their flavor is more pronounced than that of ones made by simply combining fruit, sugar, and water. As with making wine, fermentation develops the character and complexity of the fruit. A seond step, cooking, destroys the alcohol and stabilizes flavor and sweetness.

The old-fashioned home method for making syrups relied on wild yeasts on the fruit to start fermentation; this was a risky process, as rogue microbes often took over and spoiled the flavor. We avoid this hazard by using active dry yeast (the kind you use to make bread).

The mixture bubbles and froths for several days. Once you squeeze the juice from this frankly dismal-looking brew, then cook it with sugar, water, and lemon juice, the color brightens and clears. Fermented Italian Fruit Syrups

Choose fruit or juice from the following: 2 pounds ripe strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, or plums; or 2 cups orange, lemon, or lime juice.

Rinse and drain whole fruit; hull strawberries; pit and slice (but do not peel) peaches or plums. Puree fruit in a food processor or blender.

Pour puree or juice into a 3-quart or larger noncorrodible bowl (such as glass, ceramic, or stainless steel). Sprinkle with 2 packages active dry yeast; if using lemon or lime juice, add 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir to moisten yeast. Cover bowl with cloth or paper towel and set aside at room temperature to ferment, stirring occasionally. Mixture will bubble and rise in bowl. Fermentation is complete when bubbles no longer appear if the mixture is stirred--about 2 days for juices, 3 to 4 days for purees.

Line a colander with 3 or 4 thicknesses of wet cheesecloth (you need cloths large enough to hang over the sides); place colander over a noncorrodible (stainless steel, porcelain, or enamel-coated metal) 6- to 8-quart pan.

Pour puree or juice through cheesecloth; draw together corners of cheesecloth and twist cloth to squeeze and extract juice. (You may have to scrape puree from cloth in order to force out as much juice as possible.) Discard pulp and any seeds; remove colander from pan.

To pan add water, sugar, and lemon juice as specified for each fruit (following); then boil, uncovered, on high heat until reduced to amount specified with each fruit--15 to 20 minutes.

For strawberries (you should have 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cup puree), use 6 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 1-1/2 cups lemon juice; boil down to 7 cups.

For 2 cups orange juice--or for blueberries, plums, or peaches (you should have about 2 cups puree)--use 4-1/2 cups sugar, 3 cups water, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice; boil down to 5-1/4 cups.

For 2 cups lemon or lime juice, use 4-1/2 cups sugar and 3 cups water; boil down to 5-1/4 cups.

For raspberries, with each 1-1/2 cups puree use 3 cups sugar, 2 cups water, and 3/4 cup lemon juice; boil down to 3-1/2 cups.

Let syrup cool completely, then pour into a 1- to 2-quart glass container. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Use cold, or store in refrigerator up to 1 year. A harmless sediment may form at bottom of the container; to preserve clarity, do not shake.

Water coolers. Partially fill an 8- to 10- ounce glass with ice. Add sparkling or plain water and 2 tablespoons (or to taste) fruit syrup (preceding). Makes 1 serving.

Italian wine cooler. Add 1 tablespoon (or to taste) fruit syrup (preceding) to 4 to 5 ounces chilled dry white wine. Makes 1 serving.

Fruit syrup sundaes. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons fruit syrup (preceding) over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fruit sherbet or ice. Makes 1 serving.

Granitas. Combine equal parts water and fruit syrup (preceding). Freeze until almost hard. With a mixer or food processor, beat to a coarse slush; serve between courses or as dessert.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jul 1, 1984
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