The French Laundry’s Cream of Walnut Soup

The French Laundry's Cream of Walnut Soup

Thomas Keller's wonderful winter canapé soup from the French Laundry.
Chef Thomas Keller
Cuisine New American
Servings 8 small servings


  • Parchment Paper


Walnut Cream

  • 1 ¼ cups (5 oz) Toasted Walnuts Excess Skin Rubbed Off and Chopped
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ¼ Pod Vanilla Split

Pear Purée

  • 1 Large Pear
  • 1 ½ cups Poaching Liquid

Poaching Liquid

  • 1 cup Crisp, Dry White Wine Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup Water
  • cup Sugar
  • 4 tsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice


  • Walnut Oil


Poaching Liquid

  • Bring the wine to a boil in a saucepan, skim off any foam that has risen to the top, and then add the water and sugar.
  • Return the liquid to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside.
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator, if needed.

Walnut Cream

  • Place the walnuts, cream, and milk in a saucepan and then scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pan and then add the pod.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to keep the liquid just below a simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Strain the infused liquid into another saucepan and discard the walnuts and vanilla pod. Set aside. This will yield 1 ½ cups of walnut cream.

Pear Purée

  • Peel and core the pear, and cut it into 8 wedges.
  • Put the wedges in a saucepan with the poaching liquid, cover with a parchment lid (see notes), and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for ~15 minutes or until the pear wedges are completely softened (i.e. there is no resistance when they are pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • Transfer the pears and ⅓ cup of the poaching liquid to a blender but do not blend yet.


  • Reheat the walnut cream.
  • Purée the pears and while the blender is running, pour the hot walnut cream into the blender to combine. (The cream must be hot when it is added to the purée or the soup may break). This will yield 2 cups of shoup.
  • Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into a saucepan and reheat gently over low heat.
  • Serve warm in demitasse cups, sprinkled with a few drops of walnut oil.


Video on how to make a parchment lid.

The French Laundry CookbookFor more Thomas Keller recipes, check out The French Laundry Cookbook.