Last week I promised Agata a traditional Hungarian summer dish, and here it comes.
I started blogging about food and nutrition when I found myself living on a restricted diet, so I tried to find a dish that is easily transferable to my present lifestyle without losing the original experience.
Sour cherry soup, served chilled in the summer heat is one of our most common dishes in Hungary. It’s very easy and quick to prepare, a real refreshing starter on a hot afternoon, and… every child loves it for its slight sweetness. It was one of my childhood favorites, and that is something to say as I was a very, very picky eater.
My husband and me both enjoy being in an international environment and meeting new people, so we had quite some CouchSurfers stay with us for a couple of days. Of course, I always tried to welcome them with a home-made, traditional Hungarian meal. At least, traditional for us: no, we didn’t always have goulash soup. Sour cherry soup was the simplest, yet the most controversial dish I’ve served for foreigners: it’s sweet, and still, we have it as a starter, not dessert and yes, we serve it chilled, not hot during the main meal of the day (lunch).
And, at last, I chose to share this very simple recipe with you because it’s very versatile: easily compatible with any diet, and there are lots of options to give it a twist. You can also make it all year around with fresh or canned cherries, as well. I’ll share some tips below the recipe!
Ingredients for approx. 8 servings:
- 1 kg or 2 pounds of sour cherries, pitted (fresh or canned)
- 1 piece of clove
- 1 small piece of cinnamon (about 1×1 cm)
- 2 tablespoons of xylitol, sugar, or other sweetener to taste
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of corn or tapioca starch*
- ½ cup of yogurt or plant (soya) based yogurt*
* Obviously, the traditional recipe does not use starches, but plain wheat flour and sour cream instead. The flour only plays a role in the texture of the soup, so this change makes no difference, while this way this dish becomes gluten free. I substituted the sour cream with yogurt because I’ve discovered during my travels that sour cream is not as common in other countries, but yogurt should be available for everyone. A plant based yogurt can turn this soup into a dairy free, vegan dish.
1. Just simply put the cherries in a big dish, pour in approx. 1.5 liter cold water, drop in the clove and cinnamon pieces, lemon juice, your sweetener of choice and start heating.
2. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt and the starch until smooth. Once the soup is really hot, almost boiling, take about a cup of the juice out f the pot and mix it well with the yogurt and starch.
3. Now pour the starchy mixture to the rest of the soup, boil it for only a couple of seconds and take the soup off the heat. (It’s important not to leave it boiling so the cherries stay crisp.)
4. Chill it in the refrigerator and serve.
You can add some more yogurt (or sour cream), whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream when serving and it still remains a starter – however, you can have some more for dessert, if you like…
My favorite twist on this recipe was when I had it in a restaurant served with mint flavored whipped cream: you can also make this at home by adding some mint extract to the cream before whipping it up.
I hope you enjoyed this very simple Hungarian recipe and try it this summer. Enjoy!