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Spiced Plum Soup

This is a strongly flavored, sweet-tart appetizer soup--redolent of warm harvests and autumn weather, a perfect start to a meal of roast pork or duck and roasted vegetables. The yoghurt stirred in at the end creates a wonderful contrast of color and flavor. This soup is excellent piping hot--and also chilled. Serve in small portions to 6-8 people.

Garnish: Spoonsful of yoghurt swirled in each serving

Mix the plums, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, till the fruit is very soft.

Purée the entire contents in a blender, skins and all. Stir in the yoghurt. If you plan to serve it cold, chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

When ready to serve, add more orange juice, if you like, to achieve your preferred consistency. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, then ladle into small bowls. Swirl a spoonful of yoghurt into each portion as a garnish.