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Russian Sour Cherry Soup
(Sup iz Vishni)
Luxurious, totally refreshing, you'll think you're the Tsar or Tsarina of old Russia at a soirée. This is such a pretty soup from 19th century Russia, with pools of crème fraîche puddling the warm blush of a peach-rose colored soup laced with champagne. Plus so interestingly sweet sour with just the right bit of tender sour cherries on your teeth. Serve cold to 6 people as a first course or for dessert.
Garnish: crème fraîche
Wrap the cherry pits in cheesecloth and whack them with a pestle or hammer to break them; then add the cinnamon stick and cloves, secure the bag with a twisty, and put in a saucepan with the cherries (except for the reserved ones), water, champagne, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes, when the cherries will be very soft.
Remove the cheesecloth bag and puree the soup, solids first. Return to the pot with the cheescloth bag, the reserved cherries, the orange juice, lemon juice, and grated orange zest, and reheat on low, removing the pot when the cherries just begin to soften and the broth begins to boil. Cool, then remove the cheesecloth bag and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, ladle into soup plates and spoon pools of crème fraîche onto the surface of each.