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Latvian Apple Soup with Apple Dumplings

(Abolu zupa ar kilkeniem)

This is quite lovely--a cool, pure, deeply apple brew with a nice crispy bite to the broth and a light chewiness to the lemony apple dumplings, all topped with crème fraîche (which you should start to make a couple days before, if you can't buy it outright--recipe below) and a dusting of cinnamon. It's rich and filling, sweet-tart, very appley, and a nice presentation in small glass bowls. Serve cold to 6 people as a dessert course--or as a first course to grilled pork chops and vegetables in the summertime.


Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan with the water, boil for a few minutes to concentrate, then stir in the apples, wine, lemon zest, and cinnamon stick. Reboil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, when the apples are tender but not mushy. Stir in the jam, bread crumbs, and lemon juice, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, cool, coarsely puree (you want lots of body), and refrigerate until chilled.


While the broth is cooking, combine all the above ingredients, stirring well, cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Bring 3 cups of water, the juice of half a lemon, and 1/4 cup of sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan and let it boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Drop small balls of dumpling dough from the end of a spoon into the broth and let them poach until they rise to the surface, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain, until all the dumplings are cooked. When they are cool, add them to the soup and return the whole pot to the refrigerator for a final chilling.

Garnish: crème fraîche, which you can make the day or two before by stirring 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk into 1 cup of cream and cooking it over medium-low heat until it is lukewarm (not simmering!). Pour into a jar, cover, and let thicken at room temperature. This could take a couple days or less--when it's the way you want it, stick it in the refrigerator til you're ready to use it.