As I go through my favorite recipes here in Asheville, North Carolina, I am reminded that some recipes are quite specific to a certain holiday or to a particular time of year. This recipe... for Cherry Soup...is decidedly not one of those. Why do I say that? Because Cherry Soup is so versatile that it can be modified for any season and suited to at least 3 different possible courses in a meal with only a few adjustments.
Cherry Soup is superb served warm as a fruit course at our lovely breakfast here at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn...with a 'dot' of sour cream and an added sprinkle of Allspice, it's a lovely color, has a lovely fragrance and does not disappoint when it comes to the first (or the last) spoonful. It also is just as tasty served cold ( or even 'iced')in the warmer months of the year.
Cherry Soup also has an added element...that of surprise. I've been making this since around 1975, and at the bed and breakfast each of the 18 years since I started Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast In 1993. In all that time only 4 guests have tasted it and then immediately exclaimed, 'My grandmother used to make something just like this!' In 3 cases, their grandmother was Austrian and the 4th, she had been Hungarian. Seems that Black Forest and such comes to mind...you have to have cherries to have cherry soup! Nowadays, of course, the cherries are likely to be American and probably from Michigan.
So, on to this versatile, easy and surprising recipe for Cherry Soup:
In electric blender, swirl 3 cans (14oz cans) of tart, red cherries...the kind used for cherry pie. Add 3Tablespoons tapioca starch, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon Jamaican Allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Over medium/low heat on cooktop,stirring frequently, cook until mixture boils and thickens. (It will appear more 'shiny' when the starch has cooked...15 minutes, or so.) Add stevia powder (a sweet herb) to taste, if you prefer the soup sweeter...that way you don't add to the sugar content.
Variations also include: 1.Increase starch to thicken more, to make a wonderful sauce for pound cake or vanilla ice cream, 2: Eliminate sugar, add red wine to taste and serve as an appetizer with duck or game or turkey. As always, don't be afraid to experiment! As always, I join 'you-know-who' and the French who always said, "Bon Apetit"...but this time it's from Asheville, North Carolina!