Serves 4 to 6
This soup could be served as a light lunch or dessert, and can be presented either hot or cold—although I prefer it hot. Elderberry juice is available in bottles at organic food shops. If plums aren’t in season, experiment with another tart fruit, such as gooseberries or cranberries.
• 4 1⁄4 cups elderberry juice
• Squirt of lemon juice, plus a few pieces of lemon zest
• ½ cup sugar
• 4 cloves
• 1 stick cinnamon
• 10 Damson plums, halved and pitted
• 4 pears, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup milk
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• Pinch of salt
• 2⁄3 cup semolina or Cream of Wheat
• 1 egg
To make soup:
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring juices, sugar, cloves and cinnamon to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes at a very low temperature.
2. Add plums and pears; continue cooking until soft.
To make dumplings:
1. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, combine milk, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt; bring to a simmer.
2. While stirring constantly and cooking over low heat, sprinkle in semolina or Cream of Wheat and cook until mixture thickens.
3. Beat egg in a bowl, then add some of the semolina mixture to the egg.
4. Gradually add egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the semolina, stirring vigorously so egg does not curdle from the heat. Remove pan from heat.
5. Using a teaspoon, make small dumplings from the semolina mixture. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then gently drop in the dumplings. Cook about 5 minutes or until dumplings rise to the top.
6. To serve, divide the dumplings into bowls and add the hot soup.
Margie Gibson writes about food, culture, history and natural history. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, where she wrote about wildlife.
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Elderberries: Grow, Cook, Heal with Elder