1Wash 3 cups of fresh (or 1 cup dried) elderberries (stems removed) and place in a large nonaluminum soup pot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until the elderberries are soft. Blend and then strain through a sieve. Return the strained liquid to the cleaned pot over medium heat, and add 3/4 cup of sugar.
2In a separate bowl, make a slurry by combining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the pot and bring back to a boil, whisking often.
3Add 2 cups peeled and diced tart apples and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the soup is thickened, smooth, and clear.
4Cool the soup and refrigerate to chill. Serve cold topped with crumbled gingersnap cookies and dollops of sour cream.
From south of the border comes this spicy and hearty soup ladled over crisp tortilla strips and grated cheddar. The soup is chunky with chicken and avocado, but it's the tortillas that give it a slight thickness and a special flavor.