It may surprise you to learn that in Scandinavian countries, fruit soups are hugely popular, and have been part of the food culture forever.
Berries are particularly well-suited for soups with their intense flavor and as they are bursting with flavor and natural sweetness. They're also quick to make, with just minimal time needed for macerating the fruit.
This strawberry soup is infused with aromatic Szechuan peppercorns, which complements the sweetness of the berries. If you can't find Szechuan peppercorns, coarse freshly ground pepper works very well too.
Make sure your fruit is fresh as can be (avoid using frozen entirely) and avoid storing in the refrigerator for more than a day or two, as the berries may pick up off-flavors. This recipe is a great way to showcase the flavors of your local farmers market.
- 1 pound of fresh strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan or black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 lemon (zest only)
- 3 ounces mascarpone cheese (omit for a vegan recipe)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons of balsamic glaze
- Fresh basil, to garnish
Gather your ingredients. Wipe the strawberries with paper towels and remove the green stem with a kitchen knife. Slice the strawberries into quarters, place in a mixing bowl, and add the pepper, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir gently, cover with a clean dish towel, and leave for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Remove the strawberries from the fridge and transfer to a food processor, or you can use a stick blender, and blitz until smooth and foamy. Set aside, cover again with a dish towel, and leave to settle while you make the cream.
Whisk the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla and powdered sugar until light and airy. Pop the bowl into the fridge to chill slightly, along with four bowls, for 5 minutes.
To Serve: Carefully ladle the strawberry soup into the chilled bowls — any large bubbles will dissipate with a gentle tap on the side of the bowl. Use a dessert spoon to scoop up a ball of the mascarpone mixture, or if you want a more professional presentation, using two dessert spoons, you can roll the mascarpone into a quenelle.
Dot the soup with the balsamic glaze, decorate with small leaves of basil, and serve immediately.
Try different fruits and berries
- Make fruit soup with all kinds of berries. Those with larger seeds than strawberries (think raspberries) may need to be strained after blending for a smooth texture.
- The best berries for this recipe are strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Other fruits that work well include rhubarb, pitted cherries, and tropical fruits like mango and papaya.