Ann Harman of Flint Hill, Va., is an expert in beekeeping -- and cooking with honey. One of her favorite recipes for the start of fall is this delicate pear soup. It can be served as a first course or dessert. Harman says that any honey works fine; we think a light wildflower variety would be particularly effective here.
We pureed the soup for a smoother consistency.
- 4 cups water
- 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 water, pears, cinnamon stick and anise seeds in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes or until the pears are very soft.
Discard the cinnamon stick and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the honey and stir to combine. (At this point, the 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 the raisins, discarding the liquid. Divide the soup among individual bowls and garnish with the raisins. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Virginia beekeeper Ann Harman.
Tested by Pam Kendrick.
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