In the Victorian era, sugarplums were a traditional Christmas delicacy. Remember "visions of sugarplums danced in their heads" from A Visit from St. Nicholas (also known as The Night Before Christmas)? Classic!
For some reason this dried fruit sweet has passed into relative obscurity in modern times, but here's a simple-to-make version that combines candied pineapple, cherries, and flaked coconut as a moist stuffing for dates. Look for fresh Medjool dates, which are large, plump, and perfect for stuffing. The sugarplums need to mellow in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before serving, so plan accordingly.
|1/2 cup||glacéed cherries (chopped fine)|
|1/2 cup||glacéed pineapple (chopped fine)|
|1/2 cup||sweetened coconut (preferably flaked rather than shredded)|
|1 large||egg white|
|1 1/2 pounds||confectioner's (powdered) sugar|
|1 1/2 pounds||dates (preferably Medjool)|
In a medium-size bowl, combine the cherries, pineapple, and coconut. Add the egg white and stir to coat the fruits. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and stiff. Cover the bowl tightly with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate the mixture for at least 3 days to allow the fruit to mellow.
With a small sharp knife, cut a lengthwise slit on one side of each date. Carefully remove the pit from each date; discard pits.
Place the fruit filling in a pastry bag (no tip needed); if your pastry bag is small, do this in batches. Pipe some of the filling into each date. Refrigerate the sugarplums, covered, for up to a week.