Blueberry or bilberry soup
Blåbärssoppa (bilberry soup) is often served warm in winter or cold in summer. It can also be lovely served in a small cup as a pre-dessert amuse bouche for a special occasion.
Blåbärssoppa is most famous for being the most popular beverage to serve during Vasaloppet, the world's oldest and longest ski marathon, held the first Sunday of March in Sweden. Then most skiers carry some blåbärssoppa in a vacuum flask.
Swedes would normally make the soup with bilberries. Bilberries are much less common in the UK so I have only ever made the soup from cultivated blueberries but it is still good, although it is best made with bilberries.
In summer it is a refreshing and easy dessert, especially if you have a glut of blueberries and want a change from fresh blueberries. It is possible to buy blåbärssoppa, but if you make it yourself from scratch you can control the sweetness based on the berries you're using. John Duxbury
• If you serving it hot, try adding some cinnamon sticks to spice it up a bit.
• If you are serving it cold, boil the berries for 3 or 4 minutes and then pour them into a blender before moving on to stage 3 below. This gives a slightly fresher taste with more bits of blueberry in the soup.
|350 g||(3 cups)||blueberries, fresh or defrosted (or use bilberries if you can)|
|4 tbsp||caster (superfine) sugar|
|700 ml||(3 cups)||water|
|1½ tbsp||potato flour (starch)|
*In the UK you can usually obtain potato flour from health food stores if it is not in your local supermarket.
• Mandelbiskvier (small macaroons)
• A little icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), if serving the soup cold
• Extra bilberries or blueberries
• Whipped cream
1. Pick over the blueberries, removing any stalks and shrivelled berries. Rinse and drain.
2. Place the berries in a saucepan with the sugar and water, but don’t forget to save some berries for the garnish. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer steadily for 15 to 30 minutes until the berries are soft and disintegrating.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat. Mix the potato flour (starch) with a little water and then pour it into the blueberry soup in a steady stream. Return to a gentle heat, stirring continuously until thickened slightly.
4. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
5. The hot soup can be poured into a vacuum flask and served warm later.
6. In summer it is normally served cold. In this case sprinkle a little icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) over the top as it helps to prevent a skin forming.
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