Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘dried fruits’

I never understood the meaning of sugar plums. I associated the term with the sugar-plum fairy in Tchaikovshy’s The Nutcracker or the noted verse “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads” from Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas. Sugar plums are much more.

The term initially applied to small candies, usually round, made from dried fruits and nuts. The trend began in the 1600s. In earlier years, the word “plum” referred to any dried fruit. Maybe it’s time to return to the nostalgia of earlier years and move away from sugary treats. Along with the mystical memories of fairies and dancing, they deserve a place of prominence for a healthy, less sweet treat.

Although sugar plums of yesteryear weren’t necessarily made from plums, some recent versions do use dried plums (prunes). Traditional recipes combine almonds, dried plums, figs, apricots, powdered sugar, seasonings of toasted anise, fennel, and caraway seeds and ground cardamom. Ingredients often are moistened with honey, formed into balls, and rolled in sugar.

A simple version combines eggs and sugar with almonds, coconut, dates, plus almond and vanilla extracts. The mixture is rolled into balls and baked like cookies. Other varieties combine dried dates, apricots, cherries, raisins, white chocolate chips, and chopped nuts moistened with fruit juice and rolled in turbinado sugar (regular sugar will do). More modern types of sugar plums may use red gelatin with sweetened condensed milk. Other recipes add cocoa or for a different flavor try varied types of nuts.

Most of these recipes are simple and take little time to prepare. Serve these tasty rounds piled high on a decorative plate and listen to the oohs and ahs. For a last-minute treat that will delight the family and provide a more nourishing fare, try one of these recipes on Christmas Eve.

To all my readers, a Merry Christmas.

Read Full Post »