Sugarplums have been around since at least the 16th century in England.
Make a thin syrup of half a pound of sugar and a pint of water. Slit a pound of plums down the seam and put them into the syrup. Poach gently until only just tender, taking care that they remain covered with the syrup, or they will lose their color. Cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, l make a thick syrup of two pounds of sugar and 2 Tbsp. of water. Boil until a little dropped in a bowl of cold water makes a thick but soft ball.
Remove from heat and allow to become cold. Then carefully drain the plums as completely as possible from the first syrup and place them gently in the second thick syrup.
Reheat and scald only until the plums look clear, taking care that they are completely covered in the syrup. Allow to cool again. Then empty them into a shallow ceramic or glass bowl, cover tightly, and allow them to develop flavor in the refrigerator for a week.
Take them out and spread them apart on dishes or plates. Cover loosely with baking paper, put them in a warm, dry place, and turn them every day until dry. If you put them in a very low warming oven, turning them every half hour, at first, then every hour, etc., they can be dried much more quickly. At this stage a home fruit dryer can also be used if desired.
Do not discard the thin syrup. It makes a delicious sauce on ice cream, either by itself or accompanied by finely chopped Sugarplums. You can freeze it until your Sugarplums are ready.
Alternatively it can be used as the liquid in a cake recipe. You would have to reduce the sugar in the cake recipe accordingly.
By Jodi from Aurora, CO
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