Chock full of curative cranberry power, this soup has a gorgeous burgundy color that's perfect for holiday dinners. Both sweet and tart, it's meant as an appetizer — so serve it in small cups, not large bowls. Add sugar to suit your taste.
- Put cranberries in 3-quart saucepan. Add juice, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and almond extract, if using. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes.
- Put soup in blender, and purée. Strain, put into saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add cornstarch mixture; stir well. Add dried cranberries, and cook 5 minutes.
- Serve with dollop of sour cream and sprig of mint for garnish, if using.