Roasted Cherry Soup with Crushed Sugared Almonds and Mascarpone
This soup tastes as wonderful as it sounds. The flavor of the fruit is enhanced with a quick roasting and the presentation is elevated with the toasted almonds and the beautiful contrast of the mascarpone. It makes a light, easy dessert on a summer night. The recipe comes from Rachel Vaughan, a friend and talented private chef, who made the soup one night using some leftover roasted cherries, and loved the results.
For the soup
4 cups dark red cherries (about 2 pounds), pitted
5 Tbs. sugar, more or less depending on the sweetness of the cherries
2 tsp.olive oil
3/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 tsp.)
For the garnish
1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped in the food processor
2 tsp. butter, melted
1 Tbs. sugar
2 pinches of kosher salt, or to taste
4 Tbs. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 Tbs. light cream
Make the soup
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place pitted cherries on a baking sheet (read the Test Kitchen post to learn how to pit a cherry). Sprinkle with 1Tbs. of the sugar, the oil, and 1 to 2 pinches salt. Mix well and roast for about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°.
In a small saucepan, over medium high heat, combine the cold water with the cornstarch and the remaining 4 Tbs. sugar. Bring to a simmer and let simmer a few minutes until slightly thickened.
Place the roasted cherries in a blender with all their juices. Add the orange juice, lemon zest, and about 2/3 of the cornstarch mixture. Blend until almost creamy, leaving a little texture. Taste, and adjust the thickness with additional water or orange juice if needed. The mixture should be a bit thinner than pancake batter. Chill until ready to serve.
Make the garnish
To prepare the almonds, place them on a sheet pan with the butter and sugar and mix well. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Bake until nicely roasted and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone with light cream. Add additional cream if needed to create a thick but pourable consistency.
To serve, spoon the soup into small bowls. Add a nice swirl of the mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle with a generous topping of the crushed almonds.
photo: Alison Shaw
From Book SOUPS + SIDES
, pp. 190-191
May 1, 2011