Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup

25 Jun

Hungarian Sour Cherry SoupIn the first house we ever owned, there was a 30-foot-tall sour cherry tree in the back yard. It was magnificent. Every summer we would easily pick enough to make a couple of pies and other desserts, without even having to climb too high.

We moved to our current house 30 years ago, and I missed that cherry tree! A few years after we moved in, my husband bought me a cherry tree for my birthday and planted it in the backyard. It was barely more than a tall twig then. But it has grown, and is now about 12 feet high. For the last several years it’s been producing beautiful jewel-like cherries.

A couple of years ago I picked a big bowl of cherries, planning to make this soup. The cherries are small and fairly soft, so instead of using a cherry pitter, I just squirted the pits out by hand and put the pit-less cherries in a bowl. But after I measured the water into a pot and turned to get the bowl of cherries, I noticed that the contents of the bowl were moving! The cherries were full of tiny white worms – ugh! I had to throw the whole bowlful away.

Last year, I checked the cherries carefully before using them, and had to throw away most of them, even the ones that looked perfect, because of the worms. (The worms are not easy to see, because they’re tiny, there’s only one in each cherry, and they look almost like the  membrane in the inside of the fruit.) I’m not even sure if I had enough to make a soup or pie.

This year we sprayed the tree before it blossomed and before the fruit was set. That must have done the trick. I picked a big bowlful of cherries last Sunday and set out to make the soup. At first I was worried, because three out of the first four cherries I pitted had worms. But I kept plugging away, and in the end, I had to discard only about a quarter of the batch; I had just enough left for this soup.

If you don’t have a cherry tree, you may be able to find sour cherries in a specialty fruit store. Or you can use bing cherries, but you’d probably want to cut the sugar by about half.

Don’t be put off by its Pepto-Bismol color. This soup is light and very refreshing on a hot summer day!

Ingredients:

6 cups water
1 pound fresh sour cherries, pitted
¾ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

In a large saucepan, cook cherries with water and sugar until cherries are soft, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix sour cream with flour, salt and confectioners’sugar until smooth. Add about a half-cup of the hot cherry liquid to the sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly add to the  saucepan with the cherries and stir or whisk until the liquid is smooth. Simmer for 5 minutes but don’t boil.

Cool to room temperature. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the soup so that a skin doesn’t form and refrigerate at least one hour. Serve cold as a first course or as a dessert. You may want to add a dollop of sour cream or whipped cream.

Serves 6

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2 Responses to “Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup”

  1. Lisa Donovan June 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Wow, interesting story … and recipe! I’ve never heard of sour cherry soup but I just may have to try it.

    • bnlewis June 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      It’s not really SOUR but it uses tart cherries rather than bing cherries.

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