A Hungarian cold soup makes the most of a bounty of cherries

  • M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyheraldSour cherry soup.

    M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyheraldSour cherry soup.

 
 
Posted8/4/2021 6:00 AM

Is it soup, or is it dessert?

Cold fruit soup walks the line between the two, and I have to admit that has kept me from venturing into this particular soup genre.

 

While there are as many variations as there are kinds of fruit, I thought I would take advantage of the abundance of cherries this time of year and try my hand at cold cherry soup.

Hungarian meggyleves is traditionally made with sour cherries, cream, sugar and sweet white wine.

Since cherries in season right now seem to be on the sweeter side, I opted for a recipe with less sugar and used a drier red wine. I also went with yogurt instead of sour cream because I like the tang of yogurt better.

You want the balance to be refreshing, with a nice mix of sweet and sour.

I used Bing cherries, and I have to admit there was a moment when I was deterred by the process of pitting two pounds of cherries. (Note to self: Invest in a cherry pitter!)

This is the kind of soup that needs a bit of tasting and tinkering as you go along. My first version seemed bland -- neither sweet nor tart. I added a bit more cherry juice -- too much, in fact. Finally, I added a tad more yogurt and then a bit more lemon, and I found the perfect balance.

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In other words, you are going to have to play around with this. The sweetness of the cherries, the type of wine you use -- it's all going to affect the flavor.

So is it soup, or is it dessert? In Hungary, it is traditionally served before the main course, which would be a nice start to a simple summer meal.

Me? What can I say? I ate it for breakfast.

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's director of strategic marketing and innovation and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.

M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyheraldSour cherry soup.
M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyheraldSour cherry soup. -
Cold Cherry Soup

2 pounds fresh sweet cherries

1 cup red wine

1 cup water

1 cups sour cherry juice (may substitute water)

2 or 3 pinches of salt (to taste)

zest of 1 lemon

cup sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

1 cup yogurt (may substitute sour cream)

reserved cherry halves for garnish (optional)

Pit and stem the cherries. Reserve a handful for garnish. Add the pitted cherries to large soup pot, along with the wine, cherry juice and salt. Bring to a boil. While the cherry mixture is heating, zest the lemon and add the zest to the soup.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Give it a taste. Add more salt or sugar, if needed. If it's too sweet, add lemon juice. If it is too concentrated, add a bit of water.

You want the soup to be just slightly sweet. Continue simmering for 8 to 10 minutes.

Let the soup cool. When the soup reaches room temperature, slowly whisk in the yogurt or sour cream. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, whisk the soup again as the liquid and the yogurt will begin to separate. Garnish with pitted fresh cherries.

Serves 6 to 8

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