Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup with Lemon-Quark Mousse

Chilled soups are a great refreshment in summer, either as a dessert or as replacement for lunch. This sour-cherry soup was especially refreshing because of its tartness. We had it on a very hot day, and it was the perfect lunch. I topped the soup with a creamy mousse, made with quark and lemon. If you can't find quark you can make it yourself using buttermilk. Meeta from "What's For Lunch Honey?" has a great recipe for it, which I used all the time while I was living in North America.

We are really lucky with all the fruits in our garden this summer, and sour cherries were of no exception. But it seemed that all the fruits seemed to be ripe at around the same time this year. The season started with rhubarb, then the raspberries, strawberries, followed by sweet and sour cherries, and gooseberries. Now the blackberries are getting ripe and soon we can pick plums.

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup with Quark Mousse
(makes 6 portions)

Sour-Cherry Soup:
600 g sour cherries
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
70 g sugar
200 ml orange juice
400 ml cherry juice (you can partly use the juice which you will get from pitting the cherries)
3-4 tsp. corn starch
3 tbsp. Grand Marnier (orange liquor)

Lemon-Quark Mousse:
4 sheets of gelatin
1 vanilla bean
100 ml fresh lemon juice
freshly grated rind from 1 organic lemon
60 g sugar
500 g quark (alternatively fromage blanc or ricotta)
2 egg whites
200 ml whipping cream

To make the cherry soup start with cleaning the cherries and taking out the pits.

Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put together with the cinnamon stick, sugar, orange juice and cherry juice in a saucepan. Cook on moderate to high heat for about 5 minutes.

Mix the corn starch with some cold water until smooth and add to the liquids. Boil again until thickened. Add the cherries and put on mild heat for about 3-4 minutes. Let cool and discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Add the Grand Marnier. Cool in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.

For the mousse soak the gelatin in cold water. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cook the vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan together with the lemon juice and the sugar over medium heat. Discard the vanilla bean.

Take the gelatin sheets out of the water and put into the hot lemon juice. Stir until the gelatin dissolved. Pour the juice into a bowl and let cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Whisk in the lemon rind and the quark and put back into the fridge for another 20 minutes.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff. Fold both carefully into the quark mixture. Pour the mousse into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool in the fridge for about 4 hours or overnight.

To serve pour the soup in a deep dish. Using two wet tablespoons scoop out the mousse and put one or two scoops on each soup. Garnish with some mint leaves if you like and serve immediately.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
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