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1. Peel eight of the beets* and cut each into 1-inch pieces. (Reserve remaining two beets to make Skillet Beets.) In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine the chopped beets, onion, potato, apple, and broth; bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Cool about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer soup, half at a time, to a food processor. Cover; process until smooth. (Or blend with immersion blender.) Return to Dutch oven. Stir in sherry. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Heat through.
3. For horseradish cream, in a small bowl combine sour cream, horseradish, and cayenne pepper; stir about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the hot soup. Set aside remaining cream mixture.
4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of the remaining horseradish cream and, if desired, Skillet Beets.
1. Trim tops from beets to leave 1 inch of stem. Peel and thinly slice beets lengthwise from top to bottom. In a large skillet cook beet slices in hot oil over medium heat 8 minutes or until tender, turning once.