Boil the water and sugar together until reduced to half quantity, but sufficient syrup should be made to cover fruit completely. Prepare the fruit according to kind:
Apples: Peel, core, quarter and slice thinly.
Oranges: Peel in a similar way to an apple, with a very sharp knife, cutting deeply enough to expose the flesh. Cupping the peeled fruit in the hand, cut the pulp cleanly from each section by loosening the thin skin from both sides. Work over a plate as juice is likely to escape.
Grapes: Remove seeds and skins from black grapes. If black colour is required for contrast, leave a few half-grapes unskinned.
Apricots, Peaches: Split around the natural groove, “unscrew” the two halves, skin, stone and cut each half in two or four.
Pineapple: Slice off the top cleanly, just below the leaves, using a sharp, thin knife, cut around the rim of the fruit, cutting down to the base, all round. Withdraw the inner “barrel” of fruit by means of a corkscrew. Cut fruit in slices.
Cherries: Remove stones neatly—a fine, sterilized hairpin may be kept for this purpose.
Strawberries, Raspberries: Hull carefully.
Plums: Halve and stone.
Bananas: Slice thinly. This fruit must never be chilled, unless covered, as such treatment causes discoloration.
Melon: Cut into slices and, if flesh alone is required, remove with a silver spoon. The melon may be used as a receptacle for fruit salad by cutting off the top, removing the seeds, and the flesh, with a spoon. The melon “cup” is then flavoured with kirsch and set on ice to become chilled, while the flesh is used as an ingredient of the mixed salad to be served in the melon case.
Pour the syrup over the prepared fruit and flavour with lemon juice. Cover the bowl and allow the salad to become quite cold. Stir in the liqueur and wine, if used, a few minutes before serving. Serve with cream, custard, ice cream, or chopped nuts.