Savor the sweet, tart hint of apple flavor in this velvety smooth, brilliant red soup. A drizzle of heavy cream and a few Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons make it dessert, good warm or chilled.
Stir together cranberries, 3 cups water, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
Strain cranberry mixture through a wire-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, combine apple and cinnamon sticks in saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until apple is very soft. Drain; discard cinnamon sticks.
Process apple, 1/2 cup reserved cranberry liquid, and orange rind in a food processor until smooth. Return apple mixture to saucepan; stir in remaining reserved cranberry liquid and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring often.
Stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into soup. Cook 2 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened. Serve warm or chilled.
Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle cream into soup; gently swirl cream with a knife. Top with Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons.
Note: You can chop cranberries easily by pulsing them 3 or 4 times in a food processor.
Christmas with Southern Living 2001