Lithuanian Plum Soup

photo taken by farmanac, on June 23, 2012, CC licensing

Adapted from Yiddish Cuisine:

A Gourmet's Approach to Jewish Cooking by Robert Sternberg

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Although Sternberg removes the pits before cooking, I find this wonderful soup has more flavor depth when I leave the pits in, trapping them in the sieve along with the skins after the soup has cooled.

  • 3 pounds tart red plums, pits removed
  • ½ cup vanilla sugar (or ½ cup regular white sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 ½ cups zinfandel or another fruity red wine [Jayne's note: you can substitute unsweetened cranberry-apple or pomegranate juice, if you prefer]
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • sour cream (1 tablespoon per portion of soup)

Place pitted plums, sugar, wine, water and cinnamon stick into a large, deep soup pot. Stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer 1 hour or until the plums start to disintegrate and separate from their skins.

Remove the pot from the heat and set aside, covered, with the lid still ajar, to cool. After soup has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Pour the contents of the pot through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the fruit to completely separate it from its skin. At the end of the process, the skins will cling to the sides of the sieve, and the soup will be an attractive, smooth puree. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

To serve, place 1 tablespoon sour cream in each soup bowl together with 1 teaspoon sugar. Ladle ¼ cup soup over this and mix together vigorously with a spoon until the mixture is well blended and slightly foamy. Ladle the rest of the portion of soup into the bowl and mix together thoroughly. Repeat this process with each portion of soup.

If you wish to serve the soup in a soup tureen, use ¾ cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 ½ cups soup for the initial mixing. Blend with a wire whisk and then blend the sour cream mixture back into the soup.

Sephardic or Askhenazi