Pear Soup with Honey

2 pounds barely ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon crushed anise seeds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins, for garnish
1/4 cup medium-sweet sherry (may substitute brandy or Madeira)

Combine the pears, cinnamon stick and anise seeds in a large saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes or until pears are very soft.

Discard cinnamon stick and transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add the honey and stir to combine. (At this point, soup can be pureed in a blender, food processor or using a stick/immersion blender.) Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until quite cold. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the sherry in a small bowl for at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, drain raisins, discarding liquid. Divide soup among individual bowls and garnish with raisins. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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