Add 2 cups water and 2 cups of sugar to deep pot. Bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved (simple syrup). Remove ¼ cup of simple syrup and set aside. Keep remaining simple syrup on medium heat adding the cinnamon stick and star anise. Slice potatoes ¼ inch thick and add to the pot of simple syrup. Let potatoes steep in syrup until just tender. Remove the potatoes from the syrup and set aside. In a mixing bowl toss the ¼ cup of simple syrup with chopped pecans and set aside. Peel and slice apples. Sauté apples with butter, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and raisins.