Friday, July 13, 2012

Cherry Dessert Soup

A cold fruit soup for dessert on a blistering hot day? Count me in! I made this one with nice, sweet Bing cherries, the ones that I kept buying because the price was so nice, then let sit in the refrigerator, almost forgotten (but not quite.) This ends up kind of like a fruit smoothie, and it’s probably healthy enough that one could serve it for breakfast with an adjustment or two. For example, you might want to leave out the alcohol.

Yes, I spiked this soup just a bit with some bright red cherry liqueur. In the original recipe, the soup was flavored with sweet wine instead. I didn’t have any (my wine rack is empty), but I have had a bottle of cherry liqueur for some time. (I got it to make cherry-flavored hot chocolate, but it curdles hot milk.) It turned out to be a really nice addition. I’m not into lacing recipes with alcohol, but this small amount of liqueur flavored the soup nicely without making it boozy. You could replace it with wine or perhaps almond liqueur, or with fruit juice if you want to make this for breakfast or for children. (Kids might also like it just a bit sweeter.)

The ginger and allspice in this recipe are a bit of a surprise, but they don’t stand out awkwardly in flavor. They just give the tangy cherry puree a little something, a warmth, richness and sophistication that I found quite welcome.

This dessert soup is really delicious and satisfying on a hot evening. Since we’ve had plenty of those, it has gone over quite well in my house. The leftovers are just fine the following evening, although the top surface of the soup tends to oxidize and turn slightly brown (even if I place a piece of plastic wrap right on it.) No worries, though. Just a bit of stirring brings the pretty dark burgundy color back and all is well.

This is very easy to make and doesn’t involve the oven, which is a bonus for a summer dessert. It does involve pitting two pounds of cherries, however, which is a bit of a labor of love. I don’t have a fancy pitter, so I tend to just cut the cherry flesh away from the stone with a paring knife. Oh, the things we do for dessert. Of course, if you start with frozen pitted cherries, you could have dessert done even faster, but you didn’t hear that from me.

Cold Sweet Cherry Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

You could replace the cherry liqueur with sweet wine or fruit juice if desired.

2 pounds sweet cherries (I used Bing cherries)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
½ cup vanilla yogurt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ cup cherry liqueur (see above for options)

1. Clean, pit and coarsely chop the cherries. Place them in the bowl of a food processor or a blender jar.

2. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream, yogurt, ginger, and allspice. Process until very smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the liqueur. Cover and chill.

Makes about 5-6 servings. When stored, the soup may darken in color on the surface. Just stir to bring up the brighter colored soup before serving. Keep refrigerated for a few days.

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