Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherry Soup


Today I am sharing a real sweet treat with you – authentic, Hungarian Cold Cherry Soup. I feel like I am eating dessert during my dinner when I eat this soup. I consider this recipe a health food too. But more on that later.

Neither my grandmother nor mother ever made Cold Cherry Soup that I can remember.  And I think I would have remembered.

The first time I had it was my first trip to Boston. I was staying at a hotel near Copley Square, and in the basement was a wonderful Hungarian restaurant where I had dinner. I had never heard of Cold Cherry soup before. It sounded delicious and I had to try it. I was not disappointed.

When I returned home I checked all of the Hungarian cook books my mother gave me, and sure enough, I found a recipe for Cold Cherry Soup in one of them; The Paprikas Weiss Hungarian Cookbook, authors Edward Weiss and Ruth Buchan, published by William Morrow and Company, New York, 1979.

Their recipe is the one I share with you today. It is very basic. There are other recipes that use red wine, cinnamon, cloves, and whipping cream, and other ingredients. And they are very good too. But rock bottom, cold cherry soup is just tart cherries, water, sugar, and some sour cream.

Cold Cherry Soup is a traditional summer treat in Hungary and is really refreshing on a very hot and humid day. But it is just as good and delicious on a cold winter day too.

In Hungary Cold Chery Soup is served as an appetizer or a soup course. If the soup is made with sweet cherries, like Bings, technically it would be considered a dessert soup. You can make the soup with Bing or other sweet cherries too.

Sour cherry trees are numerous throughout Hungary. So it is only natural that the fruit these trees bear are used in Hungarian cooking. I have never seen fresh tart or sour cherries in any grocery store where I have lived. They must grow them some where because with some detective work you can still find canned sour or tart cherries.

Thank heaven, or I would not be able to make my favorite fruit soup.

Finding canned sour or tart cherries becomes more difficult every year. It took me six stores to find them today. Of course, I let my fingers do the walking.

While canned sour cherries can be expensive, the other ingredients are not. Sometimes you can find store brand canned tart cherries and they are usually less expensive.

Cold Cherry Soup Is Health Food Too!!!

The food police should like this recipe. The food label on the can of cherries shows there is zero fat, saturated, and trans fat; zero cholesterol; only 10 mg of sodium; 11 g carbs; 1 g dietary fiber; 9 g sugar; and 1 g protein. The ingredient list is only two items long:  pitted red tart cherries and water. Doesn’t get much purer than that.

Nevertheless, I am willing to bet the food police would complain about the sugar and the sour cream I add in this recipe.

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Like I have said before, life is too short to not take time to enjoy and savor all the wonderful foods that are here on this beautiful earth. I think Dean Martin and Gisele MacKenzie say it about as well as anyone can. This video of the two of them singing, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” cannot be embedded so just click here to watch and listen this wonderful Ode To Life!.

Featured Recipe:   Authentic Hungarian Cold Cherry Soup
This is what you need to serve 6:

2½ pounds fresh sour cherries OR

2 pounds canned pitted cherries*

Water   only IF using fresh cherries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 slice of lemon, seeds removed

2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons sour cream

* 2 cans (It is hard to find 16 ounce cans of fruit these days. I use 14.5 and it works fine.)

Here is what you do:

If using fresh cherries, pit them and then place them in a pan and just barely cover with water, about 1½ cups.

If using canned cherries, put the cherries with their liquid into a pan. Add the sugar and the lemon slice to the pan.

If using fresh cherries, simmer the cherries 10 minutes or until they soften.

If using canned cherries, simmer for 5 minutes or until they are hot.

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and the sour cream together.

Remove the soup from the heat. Pour the sour cream mixture into the hot cherries.

Return the sauce pan to the stove and stir with a wooden spatula until the sour cream is well combined and the liquid has thickenend somewhat. Do not let the soup boil after the sour cream has been added to the soup.

Cool the soup  to warm, and then chill in the refrigerator. Get the soup as cold as you can get it before serving, especially on a hot day. Chill it several hours if possible. I also chill the serving bowls in the freezer for about 10 minutes before adding the soup.

Taste before serving and adjust sugar or lemon juice as needed. Serve in chilled bowls.

Bon appétit!!!


Fresh cherries                                   I simply do not know the cost of fresh

2 cans cherries*                                $5.55

2 tablespoons sugar                           $0.03

1 slice lemon                                     $0.08

2 teaspoons cornstarch                      $0.02

3 tablespoons sour cream                  $0.26

Total cost for 6 = $5.94
Cost per person = $0.99

Quote of the Day: 

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.

Erma Bombeck


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