Chilled Beet and Cherry Soup Recipe

Why It Works

  • Leaving some of the cherries whole adds texture to the puréed soup, keeping it out of smoothie territory and providing pops of sweetness. 
  • Letting the soup cool slightly before slowly tempering the sour cream into it prevents the mixture from curdling. 
  • An ample amount of lemon juice keeps the flavors bright.

Cold soups such as borscht, gazpacho, and vichyssoise are among my favorite things to eat during the hottest days of summer, and now I’m adding this beautiful chilled beet and cherry soup created by our test kitchen colleague Nicole Hopper to my hot weather list. The soup is made with fresh beets and sweet cherries—which are in season at the same time during peak summer—sour cream or yogurt, star anise, and cinnamon. It’s a bit sweet but leans more to the savory side. You could eat it any time of day, but it would be particularly nice served out of shot glasses as an amuse bouche for a summer party.

What Our Recipe Testers Said

  • “Earthy beets meet sweet cherries in this eye-catching and refreshing sweet-tart-savory soup.” 
  • “Truly a beautiful soup. Bright and richly pink with sweet tender cherries. It is an interesting combo of earthy and zippy, with a warm sweet undertone.”

The cherry flavor tempers the earthiness of the beets in the puréed soup, while whole cherries add a pop of sweetness for a flavor ride one taster described as “tangy-tart-earthy-sweet.” Meanwhile, the sour cream (or yogurt) rounds out the flavors and adds additional tang and a beautiful richness. You can top the soup with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, or create an attractive drizzle by slightly thinning the dairy with water. Read on for tips on making the soup and to get Nicole’s full recipe.

Serious Eats / Hannah Hufham

4 Tips for Making This Cold Fruit Soup

  1. Think about investing in a cherry pitter. While there are other ways to pit cherries—such as pushing the pit out with a chopstick—if you plan to pit cherries (or olives) more than a couple of times a year, it’s worth investing in a cherry/olive pitter.
  2. Consider wearing gloves. Beets stain everything, including hands and clothes, so consider wearing latex gloves when you peel and chop the beets. Or simply do as I do and wash your hands well after working with the beets. I also recommend using a cutting board you don’t care too much about staining when working with beets and cherries. 
  3. Temper the sour cream. As noted above, if you just add sour cream directly to the hot soup, the heat could curdle the sour cream. But by whisking some of the hot mixture into the sour cream first, you gradually raise the temperature of the sour cream instead of shocking it with heat. 
  4. Purée carefully. Be careful when transferring the mixture from the stovetop to a blender and be sure to remove the top plug on the blender to allow steam to escape. You can also use an immersion blender rather than a traditional blender, but the soup won’t be quite as silky-smooth.

Editor’s Note

This recipe was developed by Nicole Hopper; the headnote was written by Megan O. Steintrager.

Serious Eats / Hannah Hufham

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