Nypon soppa is a Swedish dessert soup/drink made with rose hips and typically topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or vanilla sauce (vaniljsås). It’s a dish that brings me instantly back to childhood, when my mom and I could whip up a batch in an instant thanks to the boxes of mix my aunt would send us from Sweden.
The ingredients in nypon soppa are minimal, and yet the fragrant smell of the rose hips can immediately conjure up an image of an abundantly green Swedish forest in summer, full of wild-growing fruits. With melting ice cream on top, the perfect spoonful combines both the hot floral soup with cool, creamy vanilla.
Key among nypon soppa’s few ingredients are rose hips, which are the fruit of the rose plant that form after the flower has bloomed. The seeds inside are used to grow a new rose plant, but whole rose hips including the seeds are also used in a variety of other applications including herbal remedies, teas, desserts and drinks. (see Wikipedia entry on rose hips)
Ekströms is a leading brand that makes both instant and premixed refrigerated versions of nypon soppa. (Think the Scandinavian version of instant Jell-O pudding, as far as ease and popularity.) Every so often I see the box version (in which you just add hot water) at IKEA, but it’s been a while, and I’m guessing probably not one of their top-selling items.
To those who didn’t grow up eating it, it may both sound strange and taste stranger on the first sip. Jan thought the mixture tasted like pure herbal tea when he first tried it, though an increase in the ice cream-to-soup ratio quickly upped the dish’s standing in his mind.
Many years ago, when my mom and I had run out of box mixes, we successfully recreated a close relative of nypon soppa that was my childhood favorite: kräm. Kräm is a thicker version (more like a pudding than a soup), more often made with strawberries or raspberries, heated, and topped with ice cold milk. We made the pudding with fresh strawberries, sugar, and potato starch. However, since potato starch isn’t always easy to find, we decided that corn starch could probably be used in its place.
Back to the present day and missing the familiar taste of nypon soppa, my dad set out to devise his own recipe. Once the rose hips were sourced, it couldn’t get much simpler: add water, sugar and cornstarch, and then cook until thickened.
Rose hips can be purchased at Whole Foods, and more economically on Amazon.com. You can by the flakes or the powder, as both have been made from dried rose hips. With the flakes, you will have to grind them yourself, but you will be rewarded with a fresher taste (just like grinding your own spices).
At a recent family dinner, my dad prepared nypon soppa for both sides of the family (except for Jan, all of Jan’s side had never had it before). After one bite, my father-in-law was quickly reminded of picking rose hips in the Czech Republic many years before. Despite the taste being different from the usual dessert, he gave it his full approval, as did everyone else.
- 1 quart water
- 3 tablespoons rose hip powder
- 6 tablespoons corn starch
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- Grind rose hips into a fine powder using a spice grinder and measure out 3 tablespoons.
- Combine ground rose hips with sugar and starch.
- Pour into a saucepan that has been filled with cold water and stir until dissolved.
- Heat over low to medium heat until mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
- Pour into bowls and serve hot, topped with vanilla ice cream.