Some of the best recipes are the simplest. Cool and refreshing, yet with complex body and taste, Champagne adds sparkle and a jolt of flavor to this everyday fruit. In this recipe, we’ve adapted melon into a luscious soup perfect for an elegant dinner or an easy last-minute party.
For the orange simple syrup:
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 orange, zested (reserve for use in soup) and sliced thinly
For the melon soup:
2 cantaloupes or honeydew melons, or 1 of each
¾ cup orange simple syrup
Zest of 1 orange (reserved from syrup)
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
¾ cup chilled Champagne
6 fresh sprigs of lemon thyme or mint (optional garnish)
For the orange flower crème:
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons orange flower water
Prepare the orange simple syrup:
Combine water, sugar, and orange slices into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved and take off heat. Strain to remove orange segments and set aside. Syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance.
Prepare the melon soup:
To prepare the melons, cut each in half and scrape out the seeds. Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop 24 uniform ¼-inch balls, from approximately ½ of one melon. Reserve in refrigerator until ready.
Chop the remaining melons. Purée melon with simple syrup, zest, pink peppercorns, and ginger until smooth.
Stir in the Champagne. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to macerate the flavors.
Prepare the orange flower crème:
Place the heavy cream in a medium bowl and whip to soft peaks using the whisk attachment of a mixer. Add sugar and orange flower water once soft peaks form, and continue whisking cream until just stiff.
Ladle equal portions of soup into 6 dessert glasses or bowls. Place 4 melon balls in each glass. Top each with a quenelle of whipped orange flower crème, and garnish each with a fresh sprig of lemon thyme or mint if desired.
Recipe and photo by Monica Glass