This recipe comes to me from Joel Robuchon as interpreted by Patricia Wells and reinterpreted by Sippity Sup. It’s as fresh as a late spring afternoon and best enjoyed soon after making it.
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water, or more as needed
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 bottle fruity red wine with a nice tannic quality (like a cotes-du-rhone)
- 2 pound cherries, un-pitted and left whole
- 8 four-inch sprigs of peppermint stems and leaves, tied in a bundle extra mint leaves as garnish (optional)
- 3 drop almond extract
In a very large saucepan, bring the wine to gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Try and accomplish this with out boiling the wine.
Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve and then simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry then whisk the mixture constantly for about 1 minute.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add the cherries. Right before the mixture boils remove it from the heat. Check for consistency. It should just coat the back of a metal spoon and have a velvety texture. You may adjust using water or a bit more cornstarch slurry. Err on the side of thinner rather than thicker, it will thicken a bit more as it cools.
When you are happy with the texture add the bundle of peppermint and the almond extract cover the pan. Set it aside to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Remove the mint bundle and discard it. The soup should be close room temperature now. Slightly warm is fine, but you do not want it to be hot.
Ladle the soup and some of the cherries into shallow white porcelain bowls. I don’t why, but this makes it taste better! Garnish the soup with more mint if desired.
NOTES: You don’t have to bother to pit the cherries. I think the pit improves the flavor and texture of the poached fruit. It also elevates the slight flavor of almond. But more importantly it adds to the sensuous quality of the experience. It forces you to eat slowly. Savoring each cherry one at a time. Gently rolling it around your mouth removing it’s tender flesh, then spitting the pit back onto your spoon, setting it aside.
I also strongly recommend you use peppermint for this recipe. The more herbal taste of spearmint lacks the cooling sensation that makes this soup even more orally sensuous.
This soup does not hold well and should be eaten within 2 hours of making it.