Sweet Soup

Right now I am up to my eyeballs in citrus… three varieties of mandarins, and a box full of gorgeous cocktail and Oroblanco grapefruit left over from a shoot. Don’t think I’m complaining… I have some inkling of how lucky I am. Seriously, I must have about 100 page mandarins, little bite-sized golden orbs that are incredibly juicy and sweet. I can’t stand to let a single piece go to waste, so my head starts dreaming up recipes.

Today, it was soup. Sweet soup. Sweet citrus soup. Sweet cream of citrus soup, to be exact. Like a creamsicle in a bowl. Or, really, more like a little tiny shot glass… a little goes a long way of this stuff, and I can’t imagine eating a whole bowl full. The soup itself is almost like making a citrus curd, but stopping just before the point of final thickening. A little saffron is tossed into the heating cream, just to give it a little something that you can’t quite put your finger on. The aroma of the steam coming off the citrus and cream concoction makes me think of peaches warm in the sunshine. Once chilled, it thickens ever so slightly for a smooth sip.

I still need to play around with how to present and serve the soup… it really needs a topping… maybe a drip or two of citrus oil or, better for color and a different flavor maybe a raspberry oil. An icewine foam would be fantastic as well. I decided to go with a variation on the foam idea, and came up with a balsamic and cranberry syrup Italian meringue, the lightness of the meringue kept the balsamic from overpowering the soup, but still gave it an interesting kick. My only regret was the color, which was not so surprisingly a dingy grey. A pure white meringue, or a meringue kissed with pink would be a better presentation. Maybe next time, I’ll use a raspberry syrup.

(I don’t want to sound like a commercial, but in case you are curious, all the fruit is from Rising C Ranches)

Cream of Citrus and Saffron Soup with Cranberry Balsamic Meringue
makes about 4 to 6 small servings

A note about the citrus. You can use just about any kind of citrus you want in this soup, but I really like it with sweeter varieties, like blood oranges or mandarins. I used a combination of Page and Shasta Mandarins, Seville Sour Oranges and Sweet Limes for mine.

For the soup
1/4 cup cream
3 to 4 strands of saffron
1 T sugar (optional)
2 cups citrus juice, strained

For the foam
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1 t sugar
2 T balsamic
1 egg white, at room temperature

Heat the cream, saffron and sugar on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the citrus juice, and continue to stir. Let the mixture heat until it starts giving off a lot of steam, and remove from heat just before it comes to a boil. Continue to stir as it cools to room temperature. Then, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the cranberry juice, sugar and balsamic in a heavy pot and heat on medium to medium-high until the sugar dissolves. Continue heating until the syrup mixture reaches 248F. While that is heating, start whisking your egg white. If you are doing this by hand, a copper pot helps. Once the whites are forming soft peaks, start pouring in the hot syrup and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Assembly is pretty straight forward. Just fill shot-sized glasses up with the soup, and dollop on the meringue. Or, you can put the meringue in a ziploc, cut off the corner and pipe it on to make a cool swirl.

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  • http://www.marksdailyapple.com Mark Sisson

    Your site is appealing, simple and clear. Great recipes for the most part…we often send our readers to your healthy recipe posts. Keep up the great work – love the uncluttered style and unique flavor twists. Keep it up!

  • http://scribbit.blogspot.com Michelle

    Wow, how fun and tasty. I love fruit soups. We have blueberry soup for breakfast frequently. And they’re perfect all summer long.

  • http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/ peabody

    I love the use of saffron.

  • http://petitechefs.com UWSParent

    I know it isn’t in season but I love the combination of basil and citrus. Perhaps a drizzle of a basil-infused oil would work? It would add a kick taste-wise but also a visual contrast of vibrant green. Just my two cents. Love your site.

  • http://thevillagevegetable.blogspot.com Linda, The Village Vegetable

    what a gift that you can just put this random grouping of flavors together on a whim. i’m your biggest photo fan!

  • http://foodaholic.wordpress.com Swee

    wow, I love your site. photo’s amazing, the layout’s interesting. I’m so totally attracted to it.
    Anyway, Hello there =D
    *quickly bookmarks*

  • http://dineanddish.squarespace.com Kristen

    This looks so delicious. I have never made a sweet soup, but I’m now very tempted to give it a try!

  • http://take3eggs.com Tim

    This looks and sounds like a fab thing to do with citrus. I have bucket loads of lemons… have you tried this with anything else?

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Thanks Mark!

    Michelle – Blueberry soup sounds delicious! Thanks!

    Peabody – Thanks. Saffron is one of those funny spices I always intend to use, but rarely do. I really liked how the flavor fit with the orange.

    UWSparent – I think herb-oil, particularly basil or maybe cilantro, would give a really nice savory twist to the soup. Mint would be interesting too. Thanks!

    Thanks Linda!

    Thanks you Swee!

    Kristen – Thanks!

    Tim – Lemon would definitely work, although you’d want to bump the sugar up. I’d probably also use a splash of vanilla with a lemon flavor and the cream. For the soup, I’ve only used the combination I listed, but I’ve made a bunch of different citrus curds over the last month, which basically have the same flavoring. There are so many different combinations for subtle variety. Thanks for your note!

    -L

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    amazing as usual! I’ve never tried cream and saffron before…

  • http://cesanciano.com ces

    oh, i was just fumbling through my cookbooks around the world for a soup recipe, i am definitely making this for the soft opening of my new nook! thanks lara!

  • http://gourmetago-go.blogspot.com Chef Jules

    These sound so lovely and refreshing, not to mention quite the departure from standard fare! Beautiful Blog!

  • http://myplateoryours.typepad.com christine (myplateoryours)

    Hmm, a sippable dreamsicle. My idea of heaven. I think it looks gorgeous without the foam, with just the slice of citrus. Or maybe a tiny scoop of blood orange sorbet melting into it.

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food “Blogga”

    A surplus of citrus is a delightful problem to have, and you have turned them into a delightful soup. As I have all of the ingredients on hand, I’ll have to try this one.

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Vernon – Saffron, although nutty expensive, is fun to sneak into dishes that it isn’t expected. It imparts just the subtlest dreamy flavor.

    ces – Cool! Thanks!

    Thanks Jules!

    Christine – exactly! A little dollop of blood orange sorbet would be a great topping too!

    Susan – You are right! It’s really no problem at all! :-)

    -L