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Soups, Vegetarian

Cold spiced cherry soup

Cold spiced cherry soup
Los Angeles Times

THIS year's cherry harvest was nasty, brutish and short -- born in gloom, beset by trials and only now at the end seeing some glimmer of sunshine. But fear not: There is a second season just around the corner. This ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes, plus at least 4 hours' chilling time | Serves 6 to 8
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 12 whole allspice
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle rose wine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche or yogurt, plus 1/2 cup more for serving

Step 1Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 5 inches square. Place the cloves, allspice, cinnamon and peppercorns in the center. Bring the corners together and tie the packet shut with a piece of string. (Alternatively, you can place the spices in a large tea ball.)

Step 2Bring 2 cups water, the wine and sugar to a simmer in a large saucepan and add the spice packet. Cook until the wine loses its raw alcohol smell and mellows in flavor, about 15 minutes. Cooking gently will help the wine retain its delicate fruit.

Step 3Add the cherries and cook, at a gentle poach, until the cherries have slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar and the almond extract. Taste and adjust the vinegar; the soup should be slightly sweet, but with a tart backbone. Transfer to a lidded bowl and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

Step 4Just before serving, discard the spice packet and add the creme fraiche. Replace the lid and shake gently to mix well. The soup should be lightly creamy and pale pink. There should not be any trace of unincorporated creme fraiche.

Step 5Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with a small spoon of creme fraiche swirled into the center.

Note: This slightly sweet soup is an adaptation of a classic Hungarian dish. It makes an elegant first course for an early-summer dinner.

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