There’s A Strawberry In My Soup

The strawberry season is well under way. How have your experiences been? I rate it a bit better than last year, but that's not saying much. We'll have to wait and see if the two warm days this week represent our entire summer. With luck the red beauties will soon get the sun on their backs to raise the sweetness levels.

A punnet of strawbs doesn't last long here at Johnston Mansions. If we're planning a dessert course, there may  be enough left for that, but your luck has to be in. And we tend not to guddle about with them. Served simply with ice cream and a few drops of orange liqueur, perhaps. Or have you tried topping them with a mixture of plain yoghurt and lemon curd? But for me, a strawberry has to have a little bite in it. What to do if your ripe berries are getting a little on the softer side?

Have you tried (or indeed, heard of) soupe aux fraises? Yes, strawberry soup. I don't think I've ever seen it on a menu in this country, but you'll find it often in France. I've uncovered a couple of recipes, one French, one from Jane Grigson. With deference to Mrs Grigson, I never put cream on strawberries. The French recipe talks about serving in shot glasses. That will give you a few spoonfuls of a lovely fruity end to the meal, but that's not soup. For me, it would be improved immeasurably by the last minute addition of some very cold fizz. A bit extravagant to use Champagne, but there are plenty of good French crémants available these days.

Do remember that the natural sweetness of strawberries varies enormously, as does individual taste. I would recommend starting with a little less sugar. Then taste - you can always add, etc, etc

Version numéro un


250g strawberries (the recipe I read tells you to hull them, but I wouldn't dream of patronising you); 2 tbsp icing sugar; 75 - 100ml Muscat wine (you could use other sweet white wine, but the perfumed aroma of muscat is perfect); 1 sprig of mint, stalks removed; water.


Put the strawberries, sugar, mint and Muscat in a blender and blitz till smooth. The mixture will be quite thick. Loosen with a little water to your desired consistency and blend again. Taste. You want something slightly sweet but not cloying with a hint of the mint and the wine. Adjust the sugar/wine levels to suit and blitz again. Chill the mixture well.

To serve, decide whether or not to add fizz. Garnish with berries and/or mint.

Jane Grigson's Strawberry Soup

This version is lightly cooked, so will taste slightly different. It is also thickened with cornflour, but you'll notice that this one is passed through a sieve. Mrs Grigson doesn't specify the wine. Use a light fruity red - a sour one, or a heavy one would ruin the dish.


1 kg ripe strawberries; 125g caster sugar; 100ml red wine; rounded tsp cornflour; water, a little whipped cream (optional).


Blend the wine with a rounded teaspoon of cornflour, mixing them together well. Reserve a few of the best berries for garnish. Roughly cut up the remainder and put in a pan with the sugar and a tiny amount of water. Bring to a simmer. As the strawbs begin to release their juice, stir in the wine/cornflour mixture. Stir and continue to cook. The strawberries should have a total of 10 minutes cooking. Blitz and sieve the mixture (or just sieve it).

As with numéro un (did you guess that that was the French one?) taste the mixture and adjust sugar and wine levels to suit you. Chill well, and garnish with halved strawberries and dottles of cream if using. Jane says your mixture should be thick enough that the berries don't sink.

Leave a Comment