The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
-Twas The Night Before Christmas, Clement Clarke Moore
We all know sugarplums, but do we actually know what they are? I spent a few hours researching before I made them, and unless we go back and ask Clement Clarke Moore, I don’t know if we’re going to know which ones he meant.
You see, sugarplum is an umbrella term that means a ‘small round piece of sugary candy’(. I suppose the same way ‘chocolate bar’ today could mean a Mars Bar or a Butterfinger through to a simple milk chocolate bar.
In the end, I’ve selected two recipes, The Victorian sugarplum and the Byzantine sugarplum (I’ve giving the recipe its own post soon).
The Victorian sugarplum is essentially a preserved pitted plum rolled in sugar and baked at low temperatures, continued for days until the plum is dried out and the sugar crust crisp. They would then use these to hang on the tree or package them neatly as a treat.
While they are delicious, by the time I finished making them, several days later, I was so over it. Mostly because you need to plan your day so you’re near the kitchen constantly.
Recipe has been followed from www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas
- 1kg of white sugar
- 1 large can of preserved plums in syrup, strained
- Start by pitting the plums.
- In a low bowl, I used a soup bowl, pour in some white sugar (you don’t need all 1 kg at the same time).
- Roll the plums in the sugar and set aside for half and hour.
- Turn on oven to the lowest setting. Reroll the plums in the sugar and place in a lined baking tray. We used a baking mat, but baking paper will work fine too.
- Place tray in oven and leave for 2 hours. Remove from oven, reroll plums in sugar, either wash baking mat or lay down new baking paper and place back in oven for another 2 hours.
- You can either spend a whole day doing this, or take them out at night, set aside and continue the next day. You should do this process a total of 6 times.
- By this point the plums should be dried out and the final sugar coating somewhat crispy.
- Package nicely in a box lined with baking paper.