In the Victorian era, sweets made of dried fruits, with nuts, spices and sugar, were special holiday treats. These “sugar plums” were carefully prepared and then put in cones of festively colored paper to hang on the Christmas tree or packaged in pretty boxes for gifts.
To create a special treat, and give yourself a taste of history, try our Victorian Sugarplum Recipe.
You Will Need:
A pinch of ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg
A pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1.75 ounces of crystalized ginger, chopped
2 ounces of chopped almonds
2 ounces of chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of brandy or cooking sherry
1 tablespoon of honey
2.5 ounces of dates
2.5 ounces of dried figs
2.5 ounces of dried apricots
2.5 ounces of prunes (dried plums)
2 ounces of super fine or baker’s sugar
How to Make:
Chop the dates, prunes, figs and apricots. Put them in a bowl and add the brandy or cooking sherry, stirring so that the brandy or cooking sherry is mixed with all the fruit. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Put the walnut and almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat to toast them. When they begin to turn golden, remove them from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
Add the fruit and the nuts that you prepared on day one to a food processor and add ginger, spices, honey and orange zest. Set the food processor to chop and pulse until the ingredients form a rough paste. Do not over-process. The mixture should not be completely smooth, but you should be able to form it into balls.
Pour some of the sugar onto a plate. Take a heaping teaspoon of the mixture, and with the palms of your hands, roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the sugar, so that it is coated with sugar and place on a wire rack. Repeat this step until all of the mixture is formed into balls.
Roll each of the balls in the sugar a second time. Leave them on the wire rack to dry out a bit, for a few hours or overnight.
Package in festive paper cones or boxes, then enjoy!
If you enjoy making treats and cooking with your child, there are more fun recipes in many of our educational, hands-on learning boxes. They make great gifts, there are lots to choose from and they come in variations for Kids (ages 5-9), Teens (ages 10-15) and Young Adults (ages 16+).