Friday, 20 January 2017

Israeli Cherry Soup - AKA Marak Dhudevanim

I love cherries!  That glorious deep purple colour, the sweet juice, the short season of only 100 days in a year.  (Only buy local, folks.) Magical and wonderful.  Of course there are other sorts of cherries - Rainier is a wonderful variety with red and yellow skin and a sweet cherry tang.  I first encountered Rainiers at our friends' house in Hobart, where they grew along with other types on one grafted tree.  Some summers they get one sort, the next they pick another variety - on the same tree.  See, I told you cherries are magical.

If you know any Tasmanians, you will know that Summer is an incredibly busy time for them, as they harvest and preserve the many wonders in their gardens.  Hubby and I keep saying that they are a special breed these southern kin; full of arcane skills and knowledge:=)  And usually multi-talented, as they happily mountain-climb, play music, bake, hike trails, scuba-dive, fish, write books, all while picking fruit and veg. from their organic, seaweed covered garden beds.

I have long loved The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos, from which this recipe comes.  I have made many a recipe from it, and there are still heaps for me to try.  This (obviously) is one of her Israeli recipes, which you can eat as a starter or for dessert.  I served it at the start of a summery evening meal, followed by salads and fruit.  This is a useful recipe for that cherry bounty, if you are lucky enough to have a magical tree.


1 kg. cherries, pitted

625mLs (2.5 cups) water

100g. (1/2 cup) white sugar or to taste

2-3 pieces of lemon rind (not zest)

1 piece of cinnamon bark

1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)

1 cup (250mLs) dry red wine - I used a Tasmanian pinot noir

1 tbs arrowroot, OR potato OR corn flour

2 tsp lemon juice

sour cream to serve

a few grinds of black pepper, to serve


First pit your cherries (as Mrs. Beeton might have said)

Put into a large saucepan with the water, half the sugar (50g.), the lemon rind and cinnamon bark

Bring to a gentle boil

Cover and simmer gently till soft - about 15 mins.

Scoop out the rind and cinnamon bark

Press thru a sieve or blitz in a blender - the author suggests the sieve method is best for colour and texture

Tip the cherry purée back into the saucepan

Whisk in the ginger

Stir the flour into the wine till mixed to a smooth paste

 Add to the soup, and stir constantly while it thickens over heat

Add the other 50g. of sugar if desired, plus the lemon juice

Let it cool, then place in the fridge for a few hours to chill

Serve with a dollop of sour cream


The recipe calls for half a cup of white sugar.  If you hunt up the grammage (I know, not the right word exactly), you get 211.3g. in an Aussie cup.  Though others suggest it should be 200g.  And caster sugar is 237g. per cup!  I suggest you just assume a cup of regular white sugar is 200g.

I think rice flour would do the trick here too; any very fine flour could be used

Dare I say you could use frozen cherries?  Yep I do dare.  'Cos pitting these by hand left me a purply-fingered monster

Ah, come on!  You know I blitzed it.  Who the heck has time to sieve cherries?  Not this little black duck.

gather your ingredients

tip in the sugar and add the lemon rind and cinnamon bark  

stir together and bring to the simmer  

and simmer for 15 minutes till soft    

simmered till soft; ready for blitzing 

make the winey slurry by mixing a bit of wine with the flour 

simmered and blitzed to a smooth soupy perfection  

Miss PP holding up her soup

Miss PP came for dinner, and was the hand model for the soup entree.  Mr P. said it was fabulous!  Yep not bad for a summer's night.  
I just did a bit more research on this soup, and discovered it is a very popular Hungarian dish.  Perhaps carried to Israel by European migrants?

my cherry doodle


  1. This 'soup' is always a delightful surprise because it combines sweet and savoury in a deceptively lovely way, while being a cold dish. The colour is amazing too. Each time we've had it, as Mrs P says, it reminds us of the amazing Taswegians. Mrs Pickings does it again!

  2. That soup looks amazing. And yes, it's cherry season and I love them. I only buy them when they're in season and only buy local. At the moment I've been enjoying the white cherries - now there's a short season! xx

    1. thanks Charlie. i don't think i've ever seen white cherries. must keep an eye out for them.

  3. Oh Sherry , I have never had cherry soup. Wow it is beautiful

    1. Thanks Tania. It is very pretty and very refreshing on a hot summer's night.

  4. I have never heard of let alone eaten cherry soup before, but what a lovely idea! Cherries are one of my favourite fruits.

    1. Thanks cakelaw. Equally good as entree or dessert:)

  5. Wow what a recipe! Haven't come across anything like it before. Very cool Sherry.

  6. My dad used to make this with sour cherries and then add some cognac for a hearty winter drink. How interesting that you make it into soup!

  7. Wonderful for these endless summer days and nights. We have gone through 2 punnets of Tasmanian cherries in the past week (they may also have gone through us) but I am keen to give this a go. I made a cold almond soup last week which will go up on the blog soon. Mr Tiffin was dubious but was surprised by how refreshing yet filling it was.

    1. mm almond soup sounds good. yes it is interesting that this soup too is more filling than you expect.


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