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.