When I was in my twenties, my grandfather would take me to the tiny Hungarian restaurants along Second Avenue in New York City. There, in quaint places like Tik Tak or the Red Tulip, on the first floor and sometimes in the basements of the soon-to-be-bygone brownstones, we would be transported to Central Europe for an evening of chicken paprikash, goulash, and a rich, layered pancake called palasczinta.
- 3pounds fresh sour cherries or 3 14-ounce cans of pitted sour cherries
- ¾cup sugar, or to taste
- 1cinnamon stick
- 1cup dry red wine
- 1cup sour cream or crème fraiche
- 2tablespoons fresh chervil
Yield: 6-8 servings
- Step 1
Pit the cherries if fresh; or drain the canned cherries in a sieve, retaining 3 cups of the juice in a saucepan, setting the cherries aside. (If you’re using fresh sour cherries and there is no juice, put a cup or so of water in a saucepan.) Add the sugar, the cinnamon stick, and the wine to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then reduce to a simmer and add the cherries. Cover the pot partially and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, adding more juice or water if necessary.
- Step 2
Remove the cinnamon stick and half the cherries and blend the rest until smooth. Cool slightly, return the whole cherries to the soup, and stir in the sour cream or crème fraiche and chill.
- Step 3
Before serving, add an additional dollop of sour cream and, if you want, a little chervil for color and a slight anise flavor.