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  • Writer's pictureJessie Desmond

Victorian Sugarplums

A sugarplum is a confection made up of dried or preserved fruit that is usually surrounded by nuts, spices, and/or seeds and rolled into balls. The use of the word "plum" doesn't mean that plums were necessarily used; it indicates a rounded shape. This confection has a long history and were popularized by The Nutcracker with the Sugarplum Fairy.

Victorian Sugarplums


(makes 30)

  • 70g dates

  • 70g dried plums (prunes)

  • 70g dried figs

  • 70g dried apricots (unsulphured if possible)

  • 1 tablespoon brandy

  • 60g walnut pieces

  • 60g flaked almonds

  • 50g crystallised ginger (chopped)

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 tablespoon pale clear honey

  • 60g caster sugar

  1. Roughly chop the dates, prunes, figs and apricots and place in a bowl with the brandy. Stir to combine, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave overnight.

  2. Lightly toast the walnuts and almonds by heating in a dry frying pan for a few minutes over a medium heat. As soon as the nuts begin to colour, remove from the heat and tip them onto a plate to cool.

  3. Pulse the nuts in a food processor and then add the dried fruit, crystallised ginger, orange zest, spices and honey. Process until the ingredients are starting to combine to form a coarse paste.

  4. Pour the caster sugar into a shallow bowl. Take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball using the flat of your hands. Roll the ball in sugar and place on a wire rack. When all the balls are formed and coated, repeat the sugar coating process once more.

  5. Leave the sugarplums to dry out a little on the wire rack for a few hours or overnight. They can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place (but not in the fridge) for about four weeks. If desired, dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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