Mother Daughter May 09 011Summer ’09 has been a little slow in coming to NY, but if you’re ready for something cool and fresh… try mooss (I grew up pronouncing this childhood favorite, mouse). This traditional fruit soup was a specialty of my grandmother, a Russian Mennonite who immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. The German Mennonites also claimed this traditional fare under the name, obstmooss.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s worth a taste – and it’s easy to make… a major criteria in my kitchen.

Mooss Cold Fruit Soup

4 cups water
2 cups dried fruit (apples, prunes, raisins, apricots, peaches, etc)
1 tbsp cornstarch

Chop up the fruit a little, heat together with water in a pot until they come to a boil. Simmer until the fruit feels soft.

Mix one level tablespoon cornstarch with cold water. Stir really well, then add to the pot. Let thicken and you’re done.

With such a rich cultural heritage behind this fruit soup, a few variations have been added over the years. Some people add a little sugar to taste. Some add 1 tbsp of vinegar, tang crystals, lemon juice or lemon and orange slices to add a little zest. You can also add a can of bing or sour cherries in place of the dried fruit, or make the entire soup just with cherries.

Mother Daughter May 09 013 I learned about a new variation from my friend, Marlyn, during our recent mother-daughter weekend in NY. She was visiting from Sidney, Australia; both our moms came from Winnipeg. My mom had brewed up a fine pot of mooss, and when it was served, Marlyn suggested a scoop of ice cream on the side. With a freezer full of the stuff and cats named Ben and Jerry, I wasn’t about to turn that down. It’s another great variation… and apparently sort of authentic – many Russian Mennonites added a cup of milk to the soup.