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Estonian Black Bread Soup with Fruit


What a surprise this turned out to be. I was thinking coarse and ugly, but it turns out to be attractive and drop dead delicious--sort of like a liquid fruitcake except alive with brightly colored fresh fruits. Like fruitcake, a little goes a long way--but think what a dramatic piece this would be at a dinner party...maybe even Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Serve cold to 6 people as a dessert course.

Garnish: heavy cream, whipped

Plump the raisins under hot water, drain, then toss into a bowl with the fruit brandy until plump (at least 30 minutes).

Toast the bread thoroughly.

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, stir in the sugar and boil hard for a minute. Toss in the bread, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the bread just begins to dissolve. At that point, strain the bread out of the soup and rub it through a sieve, then return it to the pot.

Stir in the raisins and brandy, apples, prunes, carnberries, cranberry juice, the packet of cinnamon and cloves, and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the fruit is tender, some 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it.

To serve, ladle into bowls and top with generous spoonsful of whipped cream.