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Chilled sour cherry soup or meggyleves is a traditional summertime treat/refreshment in Hungary. We used to have a prolific sour cherry tree in our backyard, but to my dismay, my darling cut it out one year and replaced it with a sweet cherry tree. I have to admit we have more uses for the sweet cherries, but there are times when I regret the loss of the one available source of sour cherries. I now make chilled cherry soup, the taste of course is different, but you have to add less sugar so that is at least one thing in the sweet cherry’s favour. You can use fresh or frozen cherries, but never canned. You can make this soup with heavy cream and fresh lemon juice, or with sour cream. If you use sour cream [use the same amount as the cream], just omit the lemon juice. I prefer to make it with cream and lemon juice and then serve the chilled soup with a dollop of sour cream. Since my darling prefers hot soups, I make this only once a year. Like so many Hungarian specialties, this is lovely. Hungarians eat this as a soup and not as a dessert. This recipe makes exactly two servings.

2 cups water
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups fresh sweet cherries, stems removed
[Use only 2/3 cup if pitted]
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup cherry or red wine [optional]

• Place 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan and add the spices and the lemon zest.
• Bring to the simmer and cover the pot.
• Cook the spices for ten minutes.
• Meanwhile wash and select 2 cups of blemish free cherries.
• Remove the stems only. Leave the pits in.
• Strain the liquid, discarding the spices.
• Pour the strained liquid back into the pot.
• Add the cherries, sugar, and the lemon juice.
• Bring to a gentle boil and simmer the cherries for 3 minutes.
• Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk together the flour and the whipping cream. Use a small balloon whisk, so no lumps remain in the mixture. If you don’t have a small balloon whisk, strain the mixture.
• Add a little hot soup to the cream mixture and stir.
• Then pour it back into the soup and stir.
• Turn the heat off under the pot and cover immediately.
• Keep the lid on for a couple of minutes. There will be sufficient heat left inside the pot to cook the flour.
• Remove the lid and add 1/4 cup of sherry or red wine, but this is optional.
• Replace the lid and let the soup cool down with the lid on.
• Chill the soup in the refrigerator thoroughly.
• Serve the cherry soup very cold with a dollop of full fat sour cream and provide a little bowl for the pits.



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