Fruit soups are popular in Germany and Scandinavia. Birnensuppe (BlRN-en-zoop-peh) is a refreshing, easy to prepare first course for a summer meal.

2 lb. firm dessert pears, peeled, cored and diced

1 pint water

½ teaspoon aniseed or teaspoon crushed anise

2-inch piece cinnamon

3 oz. sugar

2 oz. cup seedless raisins

5 fl. oz. medium sweet sherry or Madeira

Put the pears into a medium-sized pan and cover them with water. Add the aniseed and cinnamon and gently poach the pears over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until they are tender.

Place a strainer over a large bowl and force the softened pears through it with the back of a wooden spoon. Add sugar to taste. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Put the raisins in a medium-sized bowl and cover them with the sherry or Madeira. When the soup has chilled, stir in the raisins and liquid and serve in small chilled bowls.

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