Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cold Cherry-Lemon Soup: Gorgeous and Refreshing for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Sweet, dark organic cherries for $2.99 a pound on sale Friday only at Whole Foods. How could I resist?! So I found myself loading bags and bags into my shopping basket. Obviously just eating them fresh is a pleasure but I needed to put a few cherry-centric recipes on the weekend cooking list. Cherry Clafoutis and Cherry Salsa for a book I am reviewing this week were a given, and then I started thinking about a cold cherry soup. I actually found quite a few recipes but when in doubt on which soup to make, you go to the master, Anna Thomas, author of one of my favorite "essential" cookbooks, "Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure." Of course Anna Thomas did not let me down and her Cold Cherry-Lemon Soup sounded fantastic on a warm summer's day.

Thomas says, "This is the queen of summer fruit soups. Sweet dark-red cherries are electrified by the intensity of fresh lemon, and the flavors sing out. I used to thicken this soup with egg yolks, but lately I've made this lighter version. It is an elegant first course for a summer dinner party, and can also be a dessert soup if you make it just a touch sweeter."

Cold Cherry-Lemon Soup
From "Love Soup" by Anna Thomas
(Serves 6)

2 lbs (900 g) sweet dark-red cherries, such as Bing
3-4 large lemons with good thick rinds
2/3 cup (140 g) sugar, plus more to taste
sea salt
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) spring water or filtered water
1 cup (240 ml) fruity white wine, such as Johannesberg Riesling or pinot grigio
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup (240 ml) crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt cheese
2-3 Tbsp superfine sugar or powdered sugar

Wash the cherries, stem them, and pit them. Select about 12 of the best-looking cherries and set them aside.

Wash and dry 3 lemons and finely grate their yellow zest until you have 3 teaspoons of zest. Do this delicately, so that you do not get any of the white pith, as it only adds bitterness. Juice the lemons and strain the juice, you should have a little over 1 cup. Use the fourth lemon if you need more zest or juice.

in a stainless steel or enameled soup pot, combine all but the reserved cherries, the lemon zest, 1 cup of the lemon juice, 2/3 cup sugar, a tiny pinch of salt, the water, and the wine. Stir over medium heat as the sugar dissolves and the liquid comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for about 15 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup (60 ml) water and stir it into the simmering soup. Raise the heat enough to get a boil, and stir constantly for about 4 minutes, or until you see the cloudiness of the cornstarch fade and the glossy liquid thicken slightly.

Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool. Puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or use an immersion blender. When the soup looks completely smooth, press the puree through a medium-fine sieve. Taste, and correct the sweet-tart balance with a bit more lemon juice or a tiny bit more sugar. The soup should be noticeably tart, with strong, luscious cherry flavor and a hint of sweetness.

Sweeten the crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt cheese with 2 tablespoons superfine or powdered sugar, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add more sugar if needed. Cut the reserved cherries in half.

Serve the soup ice-cold in shallow bowls, with a spoonful of sweetened cream in the center of each one and a few cherry halves decoratively placed as a garnish.

Notes/Results: Gorgeous color, gorgeous flavor, this is an elegant and luscious soup. As Thomas describes the flavor is both sweet and tart, making it refreshing in the heat. The cherry flavor is very vibrant and the lemon really just enhances it rather than stands out. The lightly sweetened crème fraîche adds a sweet and creamy contrast to the soup but is still tangy enough not to be cloying. This would also be delicious with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt in the center. A fun and unique summer soup that I would make again.

So who is in the Souper Sunday's kitchen this week? Let's go see:

Tigerfish from Teczcape - An Escape to Food has an Arugula and Shaved Cantaloupe Salad to share this week and says, "This is a quick and refreshing fruit and veggie salad. I enjoy salads especially when the dressing is minimal. Seriously, this is just in time for hot hot summer! The arugula's peppery chicory kick, sweetness of cantaloupe and raisins, with overtones of citrus-zing from the orange - a harmonized orchestra of tastes."

Graziana from Erbe in Cucina used her garden's bounty to create a Couscous Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Aromatic Herbs. She says, "I am growing tomatoes cherry black: they're similar to cherry tomato in size, shape and taste, but become dark red when ripe." In addition to the herbs, Graziana says that you can adapt and vary the salad by using "cherry tomatoes, cucumber, fresh vegetables of your choice."

Janet of The Taste Space has two salads to share this week. The first is this Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa (aka The New Best Salad Ever), made by Rob, posting for a busy Janet. He says, "A couple days ago I made a salad which both Janet and I agreed was the best salad we’d ever had in our lives. It was simply amazing. There was a cacophony of bold flavours bursting with every bite. There were so many things going on. Every portion was enhanced for extra action and pleasure."

Janet's second offering is this Pomegranate-Lime Asparagus Quinoa Salad. She says, "It may not be the typical pomegranate season, but they were on sale at Sunny’s last week. ... I based this salad on my Turkish Bulgur Salad but added in steamed asparagus and served it overtop baby greens for a glorious feast. It had all the elements of a nice main meal salad with quinoa, asparagus and greens. The dressing is tart from the pomegranate molasses with a background of lime."

Carol from There's Always Thyme to Cook made a healthy Chickpea Salad this week and says, "This is my son's all-time favorite side salad. He has it as a snack, with dinner, I can never make enough of it. I got the "recipe" from the lady who owns the deli where he works, she was nice enough to tell me what was in it as far as the dressing. It's just a simple salad, but so good. Orders were the next time please leave out the carrots."

Joanne of Eats Well With Others celebrated her July 4th with this Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini and Mozzarella. She says, "This salad is, in fact, red, white, and green, but I'm certain it would still make a great addition to your 4th of July menu (or to any barbecue menu) if you're still searching for one. It is chock full of summer veggies and exudes fresh summer flavor. Ideal, no matter what part of the color spectrum it falls on."

girlichef tried Jamie Oliver's Mexican-Inspired Slaw (or Cabbage Salad) this week and says, "Thinly sliced green cabbage soaked in lime juice, salt, and water is something you can tucked away in a jar most of the time in our fridge. It's fantastic on flautas, tacos, sopes, name it. So, when I ran across this Mexican-inspired salad that built on that idea by adding more thinly sliced cabbage (of the purple variety) and other crunchy veggies, I had to give it a try. Let me just say- IT IS FANTASTIC!"

Amritha from AK's Vegetarian Recipe World is back this week with a Simple Salad with Home Grown Veggies. She says, "Can we call it a perfect HOME MADE SALAD????? I squeezed some lime juice and salt and pepper. We wanted to relish every bit of the vegetable so we ate it raw. I din't want to disguise it in any form or curry or gravy just to bring out the fresh taste of the veggies. It tasted so good. We were fully satisfied with all our efforts in growing these."

Elizabeth of The Law Student's Cookbook made a mouthwatering BBQ Chicken Sandwich and says, "I originally was going to put it on a hamburger bun, but when I pulled the buns out they looked really small and also were getting kind of stale. I decided instead to cut one of the Dutch Crunch rolls in half, toast it, and use that instead. I have to say, I'm happy I didn't make it on the bun because I really love bread and I really love Dutch Crunch and I think if it was made on a hamburger bun it would have been far too messy. This easily could have been a dinner and not just a lunch. YUM YUM YUM."

Roz from la bella vita made this gigantic The Big Mama, Big Bang, Big Kahuna Burger. She says, "Your mouth will stretch twice it's normal size in order to bite into this bad boy! The burger lives up to it's name: The Big Mama (because it was for me, while Bill had his own concoction), The Big Bang (for the fireworks of the 4th of July), and The Big Kahuna (in attempts to duplicate a burger that I enjoyed in Hawaii in May). It's big, bad (in a good way), and incredibly delicious!"

Some truly delectable recipes! Many thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Have a healthy, happy week!


  1. How fitting that I am munching on cherries right now ;) This soup is definitely beautiful and perfect for this time of year! Looks like it was a salad kinda week.

  2. Lots of good stuff!! Hopefully I'll get something posted next week, and then I can forget to let you know :)

  3. That is a great looking soup! Delicious and just perfect for the summer. Lot of nice recipes added this week. Off to look! Have a great week!

  4. Deb, your soup is so beautiful in color and flavors. I also hit up Whole Foods on Friday, and stocked up on their cherries. I'm afraid what I made is pure dessert indulgence, and not as healthy as your soup. Such a great round up recipes for me to choose from!

  5. The cherry and lemon soup is definitely something new to see. It sounds like a great dessert soup.

  6. Your cherry soup flavoured with lemon looks great!

  7. WIth cherries that cheap you can join us forging fromage this month! That soup looks amazing. Did you have it as a dessert or a standalone meal?

  8. Sometimes I don't know what to do with all the bountiful fruit either... but this looks awesome. Love Soup hasn't let me down yet! :)

  9. Wow this is crazy stuff! I've never heard of a cherry soup before but it does sound so refreshing (especially with ice cream on top!). I was so bummed I didn't get to go to the Whole Foods cherry sale, but I'm super excited to see your upcoming recipes!

  10. That is one simply stunning soup, Deb! It's such a beautiful color and I can only imagine how refreshing it is. I'm going to be on the lookout for some cherries (I almost never see them in our markets here).

    You have a gorgeous roundup of fresh and yummy foods this week. I'm totally eyeing that chickpea salad!

  11. What a stunning soup! Such glorious colour, and so sweetly refreshing in this heat.

  12. I'm not sure if I would love the taste of the soup but best be tried. It looks good though.

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  13. Wow! Anna Thomas simply amazes me with her recipes. Did you know her original cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, is celebrating 40 years? The link I've included gives you info about my birthday celebration post, plus more :)

  14. Beautiful post. I think cherries are one of the most evocative of fruits — so many people have luscious memories associated with them.

  15. Fabulous! I love cherries and have been eating them all summer. I actually think I am beginning to resemble one!

    And – your pictures are simply stunning!


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