Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fruktsuppe - Norwegian Fruit Soup

Yes, Virginia, there is a Fruit Soup. And it's delicious.

Norwegian Fruit Soup is a warm soup based on dried fruits. Yes, I meant to say "warm." There are as many recipes for Fruit Soup as there are Norwegian families. But ours is the right one! Just kidding. Some of the recipes seem strange and unappetizing to me, that's true, but it's mainly because I've never tried them. Some recipes look as though they might be as good as our family's recipe.

I could go on about how each recipe springs from a distinct region of Norway, just as  does the Bunad-

Vintage Norwegian Postcard
by knitting iris via Flickr Creative Commons
(Uffda! This woman looks so much like my mother!)

-the traditional Norwegian folk wear- and hearken back for centuries, recalling thousands of years of family and tradition in each particular fjord and valley. But I would be serving you a load of svin skitt. Pardon my Norwegian. Simply put, there are many "right" recipes for Fruktsuppe. I am skeptical, however, of the true Norwegian-ness (that's an old word I just made up) of the recipes that call for things like pineapple, fresh mango, and canned fruit cocktail. These soups are probably delicious but those ingredients were most likely not available on the fjord in the dead of winter way back when. I'm just sayin' ...

This recipe comes from my Aunt and is a Christmas Eve staple at our house. Let's get busy.

Aunt Tante's Fruit Soup
(Tante is Norwegian for "aunt". Since I generally do not use real given names here in the Jungle, we'll go with tante).

You will need:

1/2 lb pitted prunes
1 cup raisins
1 orange
1 lemon
4 tbsp Tapioca
1/4 lb. dried apricots
3 apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 can tart red cherries, with liquid

Notes on ingredients: Tante's recipe says to use 2 tbsp large pearl tapioca and 2 tbsp of small pearl. I was only able to find the small pearl Tapioca this year so 4 tbsp of small it is.

The small is pictured above on the left. Large pearl Tapioca is way cool and is what is used in Pearl Milk/Bubble Tea/etc. Instant tapioca is shown on the right above. It's crushed and I suppose would do in an absolute emergency but I've never used it so can't give a first hand testimony.

Let's get busy---

Start this recipe in the evening the day before you plan to serve it.

Snip the prunes and apricots in half, three's at the most. I don't have a picture of the snipped prunes I'm willing to share as they didn't look very appetizing. Just couldn't get a good picture of snipped prunes but they will be about the same size as the apricots.

Slice the lemon and orange into thin slices. Don't peel them. You can cut the little belly button thing off the lemon if you want.

Put the prunes, apricots, lemon, orange, raisins, tapioca, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a large pot such as a Dutch oven.

Add just enough water to cover the fruit and stir it up just enough to dissolve the sugar. Put the lid on the pot and...

... go away. Let the soup sit unheated and undisturbed overnight.

The next day, core and slice the apples, leaving the skin intact.

Add the apple to the pot along with 2 cups of water. Cook until the fruit is soft, about 1/2 an hour.

Add the canned cherries and their liquid last and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Notes about heating and progression through the recipe: You can finish off the soup in the morning, turn the heat off, and let it sit until you're ready to serve- just gently warm it up again. Or you can let it sit all day and finish the soup off about 1/2 an hour or so before you plan to serve it. It doesn't really matter.

This soup is meant to be served warm. For some reason, we always serve ours in small crystal cups. I have no explanation for that other than it was what Mom had available after all the other food was dished up and so the tradition was born. It's also good eaten right out of the pot, just don't let anyone see you doing so.

Yes, you can eat it cold if you would like but you really should try it warm first. Warm is our family's preference, even for leftovers.

Yes, it's good, warm or cold, with a nice vanilla ice cream.

Until next time, wishing you ...


  1. Thanks for posting! I made fruit soup this year; my great aunt Eleanor used to make it. I used sweet cherries instead of sour, and I added cloves and cardamon. I used small tapioca and soaked it for about 3 hours. I don't remember my aunt's soup having tapioca in it, though, or apricots. I remember only prunes, cherries and lemons. But, I was very small when I last had it, and wasn't paying too much attention! Hers always came out very dark purple...maybe it was the sweet cherries? It smells delicious while it's cooking; similar to spiced cider, but with more citrus. I also used pear instead of apple, because it's what I had on hand.

  2. I think the variety of possibilities with fruit soup is part of its appeal. I think the old Vikings did the same as you with the pear- they used what was on hand. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have been making fruit soup for years but just for fun I went to your sight today and enjoyed your narrative and pictures about fruit soup. Our family has the "true" recipe too!!! I am making my first pot of soup today for my 96 year old father. Having made this soup, I feel like holiday time is just around the corner as I associate fruit soup with Christmas. For my father, however, it is good any time of year and brings back memories of his mother making it for the family. I will visit your sight again, my day is off to a good start thanks to this visit. Carol

  4. Any idea how to switch this to an overnight crockpot recipe?

  5. our conservation district has a holiday walk thru their display cabins for a Christmas festival. One cabin is Norwegian and of course has Fruit Soup. Everything is supposed to be 'store bought', but they 'sneak' this in and serve it w/ the warning that it is homemade. A little old lady makes it for them special, and No, will not give out the family recipe! lol!! I love it and it definitely makes me feel Christmas-y! Thanks!