Souper Summer


Cold sweet soups are very popular with  Lithuanians,  especially in summer.  In olden times and  now,  soups made with berries, fruits and tiny dumplings are always a treat. And another summer favorite, cold  beet soup or šaltibarščiai,  is perhaps the most popular of all.

Slyvų  sriuba
1 1/2 cups dried prunes
1 cup sugar
1 cup wine or fruit juice
1/2 Tbsp. potato starch
2 qts. water
Cinnamon, cloves
Wash prunes, soak in warm water. Put prunes and spices in water and cook until they dissolve.  Force through strainer. Bring to  a boil,  add dissolved potato starch, sugar, wine or fruit juice. Heat slightly, then chill.

Obuolių  sriuba  su  leistinukais
5 medium apples
1 cup sugar
1 cup fruit juice
6 cups water
Cinnamon, orange peel
Cut up apples, put in a pot, add spic­ es,  cover with 3 cups water and cook. When apples are cooked, force through strainer, add fruit juice, sugar, and heat but do not boil. Chill. Dumplings  (leistinukai)
2 apples
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 eggs
Bread crumbs
Peel and grate apples. Add sugar, eggs and  bread  crumbs  to  make  a  thick dough.  Beat well.  Spoon  the dough, using a teaspoon,  into boiling water. When the dumplings rise to the surface, remove from heat, cool and add to soup. Chill before serving.

6 oz. black rye bread, cubed and
lightly dried
3 Tbsps. honey or sugar
1 cup crushed pitted cherries or
4 cups water
Sweeten water with honey or sugar, add fruit and bread. Mix well. In Lithuania this sweet soup is served in summer as a late afternoon snack and often is taken to the family working in the fields. Of course to make it you need authentic Lithuanian black rye bread. Try it with Lithuanian pumpernickel bread. It might work.

3 cups pitted sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsps. sour cream or yogurt
1 Tbsp. potato starch
1 small stick cinnamon
8 cups water
Mix potato starch in 1 cup water. Add sugar to 7 cups water, cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Add cherries and starch solution, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, heat until liquid has thick­ ened. Chill soup and serve in individu­al bowls garnished with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Vyšnių  sriuba  su  leistinukais

3 (16-ounce) cans pitted red tart
cherries, drained
1/2 cup sugar
1 qt. water
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind

In stock pot,  combine cherries with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. While sim­mering,  slowly add dumpling dough, one teaspoon at a time. Let the soup sim­ mer 10 more minutes. Serve cold (or hot) with a dollop of sour cream if desired. This soup may be made with various fruits such as apples, prunes, plums or blueberries.
Dumplings  (leistinukai)
3-4 Tbsps. flour
2 Tbsps. water
1 egg, well-beaten
Pinch of salt
Combine above ingredients to make a sticky dough. Drop teaspoons of dough into simmering fruit soup to form dump­ lings.

A favorite Lithuanian summer deli­cacy is cold beet soup (šaltibarščiai). It is the ultimate in refreshment on hot days. But there are as many ways to pre­pare it as there are Lithuanian cooks.
Here’s one:

2 cooked red beets, peeled and coarsely grated *
2 fresh cucumbers, finely cut
2 hard-boiled eggs
6 Tbsps. sour cream
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup boiled water
8 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped
1 cup scallion greens, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Crush egg yolks with scallion greens and salt. Add cucumbers, finely chopped egg whites, sour cream, buttermilk, beets and  1  cup of boiled but chilled water. Mix well. Pour into individual bowls and sprinkle with dill. Serve with hot boiled potatoes.
* You can also use canned and diced beets.