Hungarian sour cherry soup

July 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dessert, From a friend, Fruit, Jewish, soup, Summer recipes)

When I was in Israel last summer my friend made her Hungarian grandmother’s cold fruit soup.  It was definitely quite different than any soup I’ve ever made.  The soup was refreshing, with a nice balance of sweet and sour, but with some heft from the yogurt and eggs.  I wanted to make it this summer and so I emailed her and asked her for the recipe. 

Grandma’s Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup

  • 1 can pitted sour cherries packed in water (my guess, about 1.5 cups of fruit and 1/2 cup of water?)
  • 1 can water (my guess, about 2 cups of water)
  • 2 whole cloves (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • ¼ c. sweet red wine (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • yogurt

Instructions: Drain cherry water into small saucepan.  Set aside cherries.  Add 1 can water, spices and wine (if desired) to saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl.  While beating eggs, pour boiling liquid over the eggs – don’t stop beating.  Mixture will be smooth and foamy.  Add cherries and chill well.  Mix in 1 heaping soup spoon of yogurt for each bowl of soup.  Recipe serves four.

Optional – cook other fruit in the water mixture (chunks of peaches, plum, apricot, halved strawberries) until just a bit soft. If you do this, add more water (about ½ can more). Try to pour only water into eggs or else all the cooked fruit will be beaten into mush.

My friend’s notes:

This recipe can be very flexible. I use a few cups of cut fruit, maybe 3-4, a cinnamon stick, 5 or so cloves, some sweet red wine. Add water to cover by an inch or so. The challenging part is draining it quickly so the liquid is still very hot when you add it to the eggs.

After further discussion my friend also says that she often makes it without any sour cherries, just a mix of summer fruits.  She said that she tries to use nectarines, peaches and/or plums, since the skins give the soup a really nice pink color.  She also says that she uses about 1/2 cup sweet red wine and increases the eggs (since her version has more fruit in it).

My notes:

I made this recipe with fresh sour cherries, plums, strawberries, and apricots.  I used 4 medium eggs, about 4 cups of fruit (probably half sour cherries), 1/2 cup sweet wine, about 5 cups of water, and about 2/3 cup of yogurt.  I put in a cinnamon stick and 4 cloves, but I didn’t simmer my fruit that long and the spices didn’t come through that well.  So when I added the yogurt I also added more cinnamon and ground cloves.   Next time I make this soup I think I’ll skip the whole cloves and cinnamon, which are a pain to fish out of the fruit, and just add ground spices.  Also I’ll top the soup with a few fresh, raw strawberries or cherries, for more color and texture.

The soup was a bit eggy tasting before I added the yogurt, but afterwards it tasted similar, although not identical, to my friend’s version.  I think it was more sour and less sweet (since half my fruit mix was made up of sour cherries).  I quite enjoyed it.  I served it at a dinner party and my two guests ate their bowls up and said it was tasty, but they didn’t want seconds.  I couldn’t tell if they were being polite or just saving room for the main course.  Derek didn’t care for the soup, but he’s never a big fan of fruit.

My version made about 6 bowls of soup.  I ate the two leftover bowls the next day for dinner, quite happily.

Rating: B (but probably a B+ after a few tweaks and solidifying the measurements)
Derek: C+

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