Hungarian sour cherry soup (meggyleves)

When I was a little girl I used to go to the farmers’ market with my grandmother to sell her goods. I was in charge of the fruits. Whatever I was able to pick the day before, I could sell. I loved climbing up the tree and picking them. We took the train to the nearest town where the market was. So of course I sold the cherries and the sour cherries too. I remember I used to wonder though why the heck people got so excited about sour cherries, why not just buy the delicious sweet cherries. Well, try this soup and you will understand too :).

Honestly, nothing tastes as good as a bowl of cold sour cherry soup on a hot day. Sour cherry soup originated in Hungary and is popular in many Central European countries. I added a small amount of ginger, cloves and cinnamon to offset the sweetness and sourness of the cherries and orange peel and salt to balance it out nicely. At the end, I thickened the soup with egg yolks. Oh and I added in a bit of alcohol, more exactly white wine and brandy (pálinka). The alcohol content will boil away so no worries, kids can have it too. 

The main ingredient is the sour cheeries. If you have a tree growing in your back yard, it is the best source for picking for sure. I have seen it in health food stores, farmers’ markets and some specilty shops too but otherwise it will be most likely hard to get fresh. You can get frozen sour cherries, they will work well as long as they are tasty, of course. Also, you can use soft cherries too but the harder kind, the bing cherries will not work. I leave the pit in but take the stems off. In addition to the cherries, I like to add some goose berries to the soup, too.

Enjoy some Hungarian folk music while you are having the soup … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiv06rzysaU

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of sour cherries or soft cherries (Please see note above).
  • 1 cup of goose berries, optional
  • water
  • 1/2-1 cup of sugar (depending on your taste)
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp orange peel
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger (chopped)
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick (avoid powdered cinnamon)
  • 3-5 pieces of cloves
  • 1 cup of white wine (Vermouth is fine) (optional)
  • 2Tbsp of brandy (cherry would be ideal but others are fine too)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • whipped cream for serving

Directions

  • Wash the cherries.
  • Put them into a medium sized pot along with the sugar, orange peel and lemon slices.
  • Cover with water. Water should be about about 1-2 inches above the cherries.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat without the lid. Bring to a boil and continue cooking as you add the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, wine, brandy and and cook for 5 more minutes on medium low heat with the lid on. We add the ginger, cinnamon and cloves in later because they only need 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Turn off the heat. Remember to wait for 5 minutes before adding the egg yolk mixture.
  • Mix the yolk with a little liquid from the soup. As I mentioned earlier, after 5 minutes, add the egg yolk mixture. Stir gently so it is mixed nicely in the soup.
  • Let the pot cool on the counter leaving the cinnamon and the cloves in.
  • Chill in the refrigerator overnight but atleast for a couple of hours.
  • Take out the large spice pieces.
  • Serve cold with whipped cream.

enjoy!

Text, photos, recipe by twincitiesgerbs.com.

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