Black Plum Soup (with Cheese Balls)

Black Plum Soup in Bowl

I love plums so was excited to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Black Plum Soup. I was slightly less excited after I read the recipe and realized that it called for putting cheese balls into the soup before serving (which sounded very strange to me), But, nevertheless, I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Black Plum Soup is served hot. It tasted like plums with a hint of cinnamon though was quite tart. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually really liked the cheese balls in the soup. The cheese balls added some texture to the otherwise clear soup – and sharpness of the cheese was a nice contrast to the tartness of the soup.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Black Plum Soup
Source: American Cookery (June/July, 1922)

This recipe makes a lot of soup, so I divided it in half when I updated it.  The smaller amount I made still makes enough soup to for about 6 cups of soup or three bowls.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Black Plum Soup with Cheese Balls

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


1 dozen (12)  black plums

3 cups water or chicken broth (I used water.)

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

small piece of stick cinnamon (about 1 1/2 inches long – or longer if a very thin stick)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

juice from 1/2 lemon

Remove pits from plums and quarter. Put in a Dutch oven or large saucepan; add water or chicken broth, stick of cinnamon, sugar, salt, and white pepper. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.  Remove from heat and strain. (Discard the plum pulp.) Add the lemon juice to the plum soup. Reheat then serve. Add cheese balls (see recipe below) right before serving.

Cheese Balls

1/2 cup grated hard cheese (I used cheddar cheese)

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1/2 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fine plain breadcrumbs

shortening or cooking oil

Put grated hard cheese, parmesen cheese, salt, cayenne pepper, and beaten egg in a bowl, then mix to combine all ingredients. Shape the mixture into small balls, each about 1/2 – 3/4 inch in diameter. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs. Put about 1/2 inch of shortening or cooking oil in a skillet, then heat until hot using medium heat. Place the cheese balls in the hot fat or oil, and fry until the bread crumbs are lightly browned (about 20-30 seconds). Using a fork roll the balls to fry on the other side.  Remove from skillet using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

22 thoughts on “Black Plum Soup (with Cheese Balls)

  1. I rarely come across a recipe here that doesn’t seem at least a little appealing, but with this one, my first response was, “Nope. Not going to happen. No way.” I’m not sure why, since fruit and cheese is a fine combination for snacking. It may be the combination. I’d rather keep the soup and cheese balls separate, rather than risking a soggy cheese ball.

    1. If you like plums you might enjoy this recipe. When I made the recipe I was really surprised that the cheese balls were my favorite part of the soup.

    1. It’s fun to hear that this is a recipe you might have considered for the inn. Plums and cheese are an unique combination in a soup and it could lead to some interesting conversations. Persoanally I think that I’d tweak the soup a bit before serving to guests. The soup itself was very tart. Maybe the plums I used were particularly tart. In any case, I’d have a tentency to add a little more sugar -though the old recipe is probably healthier.

  2. I kept pondering the combination and realized it made me think of Asian cookery. Sort of like a simple broth with dumplings. I think it would be interesting as a starter or as Dorothy mentioned, a brunch offering. I am really curious now to try it.

    1. I hadn’t thought about the soup in this way – but it may be similar to some simple Asian broth soups. Like you, I like Dorthy’s serving suggestion. When I made this recipe, I found the soup to be very tart, and might add a bit more sugar if I made it again – though other plums may be naturally sweeter than the ones I used.

      1. Well, you know me, I started looking at the newspaper archives, and I actually found this recipe (only without info on the cheese balls) in a column by Hannah Wing from the 1920s. Fruit soups were popular for summer and she had several different recipes, plus, it is indeed a common “soup/drink” in China!

    1. Most recipes that I make for this blog, I make once. A few recipes, I don’t like or the recipe doesn’t turn out right. Most recipes turn out well, and I enjoy them – but I don’t make them again. And, a few become part of my regular recipe repertoire. This recipe would fall into the middle group for me.

  3. It sounds very interesting and tempting! But with the price of plums, unless I find a friend with a plum tree that will donate to the cause, I’m not going to risk it…

    1. Hopefully plums will be less expensive next year. I never did buy any cherries this year. I just couldn’t bring myself to pay the extremely high prices for them.

  4. Plum soup🤔 trying to imagine what this might taste like… I love plums ,and I know some fruits go goos with cheeses. Applesauce or apple butter is what is used around here to dip cheese it. I have done grape butter when I had a lot of good pulp left from making grape juice… now I’m wondering if it would be similar.

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