Sour cherry soup infused with lemon thyme and vanilla

sour cherry soup vanilla lemon thyme

Sour cherry soup and its strawberry sorbet

It was easy to fall for them. They sparkled like ruby stones with their rich red color. Perhaps I am the only one noticing them, I thought. How could no one else seem to see them? Or want them? They suddenly brought memories of treasured moments spent in my mother’s small kitchen, when she and I made preserves and the house smelled sweet like a sugar mill.

We were canning sour cherries. Des cerises aigres. Those small bright red cherries that many people don’t care about because of their more emphasized acidic taste.


We would never get enough of them. We’d pet the sour cherry tree in the back garden with love. And great care. Hungry, when summer came, for a taste of the delicate fruit in our mouths.

sour cherry soup vanilla lemon thyme cerises aigres

Frankly, I didn’t think that I would still be lucky enough to find sour cherries at this time in the season. But I did. And I indulged when I caught sight of a few boxes in the store. One box. Two boxes. Three. In my cart.

I wasn’t sure of what I would make with them but was nevertheless convinced that I’d find something tasty to render them justice. It was a necessity. And I’d have to work fast too since I knew the fruit would spoil quickly.

Then Saturday came and there was a spontaneous dinner invitation for friends to come for dinner. The kind we love. It was a hot summer night, and we enjoyed the breeze as we sat outside to eat on the patio. We were eating grilled fish, potato and radish salad with a melon cucumber soup to start.

cerises aigres

And for dessert, I made a cherry soup infused with lemon thyme, and served it with a fresh strawberry sorbet and a dollop of mascarpone. It’s an idea that crossed my mind while not knowing really what I would eventually serve.

The dessert offered subtle flavors that worked wonderfully, leaving us light and refreshed after eating. The best during summer.

So the next day, between a walk to the playground to explore our new neighborhood, I made it again. This time, using Rainier cherries to compare, curious to see whether I would like it just as much.

The color of the Rainier cherry soup was pretty but Les cerises aigres stood out.

Making the sour cherry soup is easy. Prepare a light syrup and add spices that you like. I flavored mine with lemon-thyme , lime juice, vanilla and cane blond sugar. Then, simmer the cherries in the syrup until they soften. The cooking time will depend on how ripe the fruit is and how you like it. Then, serve the soup chilled with mascarpone cheese and a scoop of homemade made berry sorbet. I made mine using delicious fragrant organic strawberries, confectioner’s sugar–that I made with blond cane sugar–lime juice and a few tablespoons of apple juice.

Together, it was an explosion of some of the best aromas of summer fruit in the mouth.

Fresh and bright.

Sour cherry soup with lemon thyme and vanilla, strawberry sorbet

For 6 people

You need:

  • 1 pound 5.5 oz (600 g) sour cherries, washed and pitted
  • 5 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) blond cane sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
  • 6 scoops of homemade strawberry sorbet
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese


  • Place the water, sugar, vanilla, lime juice and lemon thyme in a pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cherries and stew the fruit for 5 minutes, or until they soften. Stop the heat and let the fruit cool. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls and add one scoop of sorbet in each with 1 tablespoon of mascarpone cheese.
Le coin français
Soupe aux cerises aigres parfumées au thym citron et à la vanille, sorbet fraises

Pour 6 personnes

Ingrédients :

  • 600 g de cerises aigres, lavées et dénoyautées
  • 5 brins de thym citron
  • 240 ml d’eau
  • 50 g de sucre de canne blond
  • Jus d’un citron vert
  • 1 gousse de vanille, fendue et grattée
  • 6 boules de sorbet à la fraise maison
  • 6 càs de mascarpone

Etapes :

  • Mettez l’eau, le sucre, la vanille, le jus de citron vert et le thym citron dans une petite casserole. Faites frémir jusqu’à ce que le sucre soit dissout. Ajoutez les cerises et laissez compoter pendant 5 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient tendres. Arrêtez le feu et laissez complètement refroidir. Mettez en attente au frigidaire.
  • Au moment de servir, servez la soupe de cerises dans de petites coupelles et placez une boule de sorbet au milieu. Ajoutez une càs de mascarpone et servez sans attendre.
Posted in Dessert, French Inspired, Fruit, Gluten Free, Life and Us


  1. I have been eating cherries none stop since they arrived at the grocery this summer…but where to get sour cherries? I don’t know if I have every had them. Except for the candy kind.

    Gorgeous photos and darling baby curls. 🙂

  2. I’d love to find some sour cherries. Your recipe sounds delicious. We’re gorging ourselves on the sweet ones these days – saving a few to make clafoutis or cherry gratins.

  3. Delightful to read about this wonderful, hard-find fruit! I feel so lucky to have discovered some at my farmers market. Sour cherries have been nearly forgotten in California, due to the hostile take-over by sweet cherries.

    Hope you’ll post some of your amazing food photos at my site!

  4. You would be jealous – we have a bunch of sour cherry trees all over our neighborhood on the public strip of land between the sidewalk and the street, meaning they are free for the taking! I pluck a handful off every day when I walk the dog and munch on them on the way, but might have to try your recipe.

  5. Would you by any chance mind sharing your source for the sour cherries? (I am in MA.) I promise not to buy very many…I have never tried them and henceforth feel a little sorry for myself.

  6. I love sour cherries. They are hard to find, even at the farmers’ market, so 15 years ago, I planted a Montmorrency tree in my mother’s garden. The tree has been steadfastly providing us with bushels of garnet cherries that my mother and I transformed into jam.
    Sadly, I think that this year will be the last it provides us with jam. I’ll be jealously hoarding my last jars of sour cherry jam until I find a spot to plant a new tree.

  7. We adore cherries (we enjoy them often in your chocolate clafoutis recipe) and every new idea is absolutely welcomed. Thank you!

  8. I don’t know why but I have never seen fresh sour cherries in our stores here in Finland. Only in jars…

  9. I have to try this. that sounds like you said, the explosion of all summer tastes. great.

  10. Bea, we have just celebrated cherry day in England. I love these little jewels. I love the recipe, just made a cherry gazpacho. This is beautiful.

  11. Cherry gazpacho, sounds cooling and sweet and perfect for the heat, especially with the thyme. Living in the land of gazpacho, I’m always in search of new and interesting variations. I can’t wait to give this one a try. Stunning photographs!

  12. This soup sounds so delightful and perfect for a warm evening after dinner. I will have to pick up some cherries at the farmers market this week before they disappear now that I am inspired! The photos are beautiful.

  13. you never cease to amaze me- not only with your amazingly creative recipes but with your beautiful photography.
    thank you once again for the inspiration~

  14. I LOVE LOVE your blog… the pictures and story to go with them are always so beautiful and inviting… thank you for sharing with us!!!

  15. Thank you so much for your kind words everyone. And yes, I ‘d be jealous about those sour cherry trees in the street.I bought mine at Whole Foods in Fresh Pond. I hope you’ll still be able to find them!

  16. Wonderful composition, both the food and the images!

    Béa, I have always wondered whether that love for sour cherries is a European thing. My mum made sour cherry confiture, with whole cherries. Nothing tastes better than a slice of whole grain rye bread, fresh country butter made with sour cream, and a spoonful of sour cherry confiture.

  17. Delicious, Béa. Vanilla, lemon thyme and mascarpone? This sounds like a good basis for fruit soups during the winter season, too. Persimmons or cranberries, maybe?

  18. this is one of the reasons why i love summer. the beautiful colors, the fruit, the grilled fish… you are transporting me back home with these words.

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  20. I just wanted to say that your photographs are simply the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I love your blog for your stories and recipes, but truly admire it for the photos. This post is no exception! If I could print and frame the bowl of cherries on the aqua table cloth, it would be in my house today! Thank you!

  21. Oh yum! Another recipe using lemon thyme, my favourite herb. I have never used it with fruit, but it makes so much sense to do so!

  22. the flavour mix looks and tastes perfect. My aunt made an summer soup with strawberries and vinegar (with a little add of sugar) it was stunning and I was a little astonished with this mix but it was really wonderful! (she tooks the recipe from a parisian grand chef cookbook)

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