Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sugar Plums Oh Sugar Plums, What Pray Tell Art Thou?

The first recipe in this month's holiday extravaganza led me on a quest.

Not being much of a candy maker (I'm afraid of boiling sugar), I can't quite tell what the texture of the candies is like, but their snowy whiteness makes a great backdrop for the neon-colored candied fruit of the era.

We always had little plastic tubs of the stuff in my childhood kitchen. I never liked it, but it was a holiday staple, as you will see from recipes to come throughout the month.

I imagine this candy to be very sweet, slightly chewy, and studded with the weirdly textured candied fruit flavors of the past. But they aren't what I ever imagined sugar plums to be.

And so I set out to find out what a sugar plum is. Turns out this is not a straight forward question.

Here are a few examples of the most common version found on the interwebs today:

In contrast, Epicurious says that they are candied or dried fruits surrounded by fondant.

Other sources say they are a comfit; a confectionary item usually small in size which is arduously coated in multiple layers of sugar:

So I'm still confused.

Perhaps I should ask the Patron Fairy for answers:

Look! She's wearing candied cherries! Surely she will know.

I'm off to Google her contact info...

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