The origins of this chilled cherry soup are Hungarian. But I came to know this dish by way of a memorable Christmas breakfast with Paul’s family. Between courses of oyster stew and cardamom bread, there was a mysterious ruby-hued soup. Combining the warmth of cardamom with the sweet tartness of cherries, this Chilled Cherry Soup is tangy, vivid, and refreshing: a lovely foil to the richness of holiday feasting.
Yield: Serves 8
- 5 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries
- 3 tablespoons sugar (add more or less depending on the sweetness of your cherries)
- 3 cardamom pods (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 1/2 cinnamon stick (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 2 whole cloves (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup sour cream (may substitute cream, yogurt, Creme Fraiche)
- Juice from half a lemon (1-2 tablespoons)
- Fill a large saucepan with 5 cups water. Add the cherries, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until no lumps remain.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the simmering cherry soup and whisk one minute until combined.
- Remove the soup from heat. If using using whole spices, remove at this point. Add the sour cream. Puree in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. We like a silk-smooth texture with this soup and like to strain it after pureeing, but this is a up to your personal preference.
- Add lemon juice to taste and refrigerate the soup covered until cold, approximately 4 hours.
- Serve cold in small containers. Whipped cream, mint, or cherries all make for good toppings.