Welcome Downton Abbey fans. Christmas is just a week away. Are you ready yet? Have you taken the ladies out for a relaxing tea to unwind? I do love the spa experence, but afternoon tea is so relaxing. Perhaps someone should combine the two.
Part of our holiday plans recently included a lovely holiday meal with Lord D’s foodie family; Lord C and his mother Lady J prepared a lovely turkey dinner for our extended family. Our son, Master S, is visiting from Australia, making it an extra special event. Shout out to family friends Lord E and Lady K, who brought wee Master O to brighten everyone’s day.
I regularly dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. You may find my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to serve at your own tea party.
Today’s treat is Sugar Plums. Do they really dance in children’s heads? They are really easy to make, and quite healthy for you. Bonus.
Sugar plums, associated with “Twas the Night before Christmas”, and the Nutcracker Suite, are a traditional Victorian sweet, which initially started as a candy coated confit, much like what you would enjoy at Italian weddings. There were no plums in the original dish but over time it evolved to include dried currants or raisins which were referred to as “plums”. Real plums, steeped in cane syrup began to emerge in the 17th century.
Easy and Nutritious Sugar Plums
- 1 cookie scoop
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 medium orange zested
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 cup dates pitted, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup apricots dried, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup prunes pitted, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. honey (if required to hold your paste together)
- For finishing: white or brown sugar
- Mash the nuts with the spices and fruits. Daisy would have likely used a food mill, but we have modern food processors to do the job. Combine all ingredients except the finishing sugar and process until a paste forms. If your dried fruit is really dry (my prunes lost some their moisture) add a little bit of honey to help bond. Empty the contents into a mixing bowl.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture. If you have a small tablespoon cookie scoop that is your best option to keep the balls uniform in size. Squish and roll the paste to form a solid ball between the palms of your hands. it is like making meatballs.
- Place the sugar coating in a shallow pan and place the sugar plums in and roll around, gently pressing if needed to get a nice coating.
- Plate and serve with a nice pot of tea or Christmas beverage. The sugar plums will keep quite nicely over the holidays.