I love whisking spices into my juices, or blending them into smoothies. Some of my go-to spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, star anise, cardamom, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, chili, chipotle, mesquite, and curry. Here’s a smoothie that gets me dreaming of treasure troves of sweetness and spice.
- 4 ripe black plums, stones removed
- 1 frozen banana
- 4 pitted Medjool dates
- ¼ Cup of raw pecans
- 1 ½ Cup of pressed apple juice or cider
- ½ Cup of squeezed orange juice
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon lucuma powder
- ½ Teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
- A dash of powdered clove
- ¼ Teaspoon cardamom
- A dash of powdered ginger
- Swiss Meringue for Sugar Plum Fairy
- 6 ounces plum jam
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Spun Sugar for Sugar Plum Fairy
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment trace six circles measuring 3 inches in diameter on each. Turn paper over so ink is face down.
Place meringue in an 18-inch pastry bag fitted with a jumbo star tip (Ateco #824). Pipe meringue into disks filling the circles, starting at center and working outward in a spiral. Pipe two more layers around edge, forming a bowl.
Bake 1 hour, until meringue is set and no longer tacky. Reduce heat to 175 degrees. Bake until meringue is completely dry and crisp but not at all brown, 1 hour or more. Remove from oven store in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 2 days.
Place jam in pan over low heat. Cook until liquid, about 5 minutes. Pass through fine strainer discard solids. Place jam in an airtight container until ready to use.
Using a small brush, lightly coat berries with egg white. Sprinkle with superfine sugar until well coated, shaking off excess.
In bowl of electric mixer, whip cream to soft peaks. Add jam fold in, using rubber spatula. Place meringue bowls in jumbo paper cupcake liners set on plates. Spoon plum mixture into meringues top with berries and spun sugar. Serve immediately.
For the génoise fairy cakes, line a mini-muffin tray with 12 fairy cake cases and preheat the oven to 170C/150C(fan)/Gas 5.
Warm the bowl of a free-standing mixer by pouring in some boiling water and drying it with a tea towel.
Place the sugar and eggs in the warmed bowl and whisk at full speed for several minutes, or until the mixture is pale and doubled in volume.
While the mixture is whisking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl.
Carefully add the melted butter around the edge of the mixture while still whisking.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and place on a tea towel, then sift and gently fold in the flour and mixed spice in two batches.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and carefully pipe into the cake cases. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown and springy to the touch.
Remove the cakes from the tins and cool on a wire rack. Peel the paper cases off the cakes when cooled.
For the plums, marinade the chopped plums in the orange liqueur in a small bowl. Set aside.
For the edible fairy cake cases, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. Set 12 more fairy cake cases in the mini-muffin tins.
Once melted, paint the chocolate inside the fairy cake cases and press the cooled genoise fairy cakes into each one, so the chocolate lines and coats the side of the cakes. Leave to set completely, then remove from the tins and remove the papers from the chocolate-lined cakes.
For the French meringue buttercream, combine the egg white and sugar in a medium-sized heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
Beat continuously with an electric hand-held whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy and all the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture has cooled and is thick enough to hold its shape.
Beat the butter to a soft consistency and start adding small lumps of it to the meringue, a little at a time, whisking well after each addition.
Beat in the orange liqueur, orange extract and zest. Transfer the meringue buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe it onto the cupcakes.
Drain the plums of their liqueur and carefully top each fairy cake with a plum piece and a sprinkling of edible gold glitter.
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR PLUMS
To make this easy holiday treat, combine all the nuts and fruit in a food processor and process until finely chopped and the mixture starts to form into a &ldquoball&rdquo in the processor.
I chose to use almonds, prunes, dates and raisins in my version of sugar plums.
At this point, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add all the spices, extracts and honey. Use clean hands to mix everything together and roll into balls.
Add the raw/coarse sugar to a shallow bowl and roll each sugar plum around in the mixture until completely covered in a sugar coating.
“Visions of sugar plums” and the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” certainly bring on the essence of Christmas. We know the stories by heart. The iconic tales of The Night Before Christmas and the Nutcracker ballet mention sweet sugar plums. What are sugar plums? These edible treats do exist! Let’s make them more apart of our holiday season.
These candy gems were (of course) inspired by the classic stories, but we first saw a recipe for them a few years ago. Riffling through old cookbooks at our mom’s house one Christmas, we came across a newspaper clipping from over 30 years ago. The clipping was for a very simple recipe: sugar plums. Our hearts were set on creating this nostalgic candy for modern times. With a vintage flair and an intense flavor, these are just as special as we imagined them to be!
These candied plums are not as sweet as other holiday fare, and definitely not as common, but their sweet spiced bites are full of flavor so charming they are bound to become a December tradition. When the hustle and bustle of the holidays is in full swing, rest your mind knowing these can be made in advance, are naturally sweetened and are completely vegan. They are pretty enough to be included with favorite dishes besides the pies, cookies and eggnog yet their healthy ingredient list is worth some extra celebration. They are absolutely one of the most magical treats you’ll eat this season.
Healthy Sugar Plums
1/2 cup gently packed Prunes
1/3 cup Dried Apricots
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries (homemade or store-bought)
2/3 cup Walnuts
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
1/3 cup Agave or Raw Honey
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Coriander
1/4 teaspoon Pink Sea Salt
1/4 cup Xylitol or Erythritol for rolling
1/2 teaspoon Flour or Cornstarch
In a food processor, combine the dried prunes and apricots until fruits are chopped and mixed. Add the walnuts, cranberries, orange zest and honey. Mix until incorporated and mixture begins to come together. Add the vanilla and spices and mix until almost smooth. Mixture will be sticky. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before assembling.
Pour xylitol or erythritol in a shallow bowl with flour and mix. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon amount of mixture and roll into smooth spheres, roll in xylitol or erythritol. Repeat until all sugar plums are rolled. Serve right away or store covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
NOTE: The flour or cornstarch helps the sweetener not to dissolve into the sugar plums so please do not skip this ingredient. For prettiest appearance, roll sugar plums in sugar right before serving.
Sugar Plum Fairy Jelly
Inspired by that Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, our fictional preserve is a softly set blend of plums, raspberries, prosecco and sweet spices in a sparkly spread, perfect for toast or spooning on rice pudding. Check the glitter you are using isn&rsquot soluble otherwise it may dissolve and disappear!
Try our glittery jelly packed full of all things sweet and delicious this festive season. The perfect Christmas gift for someone special!
Cooking Notes: plus overnight straining and cooling
kg red plums, destoned and chopped
600-900g preserving sugar (see recipe)
vanilla pods, split lengthways
Edible glitter, to sprinkle (optional)
A large piece of muslin (available from Ocado, Lakeland and Amazon)
- Mix plums, raspberries and 200ml water in a pan, cover with a lid and heat gently until fruit is collapsing, about 20min. Mash thoroughly with a potato masher or the back of the spoon.
- Line a colander/sieve with a large piece of muslin. Sit colander/sieve over a large bowl. Pour mashed fruit into the muslin. Gather up corners of muslin, tie firmly about the fruit with string and suspend (above the colander/sieve and bowl &ndash see GH Tip) and leave to drip through overnight. Don&rsquot squeeze the fruit or your jelly will be cloudy.
- Pour the strained juices into a measuring jug with the lemon juice and note the volume. Calculate how much sugar you need, allowing 450g sugar for every 600ml liquid.
- Using a pestle and mortar, bash the cardamom pods to break the husks. Pick out seeds and discard husks. Grind seeds until very fine. Mix juices, sugar, ground cardamom, vanilla pods and prosecco in a large, wide pan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve.
- Turn up heat to medium-high, insert a jam thermometer and boil, stirring occasionally, until jam reaches setting point (105°C). Keep an eye on it as the prosecco will make it bubble vigorously as it comes to the boil. Remove from heat and pick out vanilla pods with a fork. Gently stir in glitter (if using). Divide between jars and seal. Cool completely.
Store in a cool dry place for up to 3 months. Chill after opening.
A jelly bag and stand are traditionally used to extract as much clear juice as possible. If you don&rsquot have one, suspend the muslin with kitchen string from a shelf in the fridge (if your shelves have rungs) or from a kitchen cupboard handle. The weight of the fruit helps to gently push the juices out without making them cloudy.
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
Cover a 4-by-5-foot area of floor with parchment or newspaper. Set a pasta drying rack or a wooden drying rack on the paper, and coat well with cooking spray.
Combine sugar, the water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan stir to combine. Place pan over medium-high heat bring to a boil. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush down any sugar crystals on sides of pan. Clip on a candy thermometer cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 290 to 295 degrees.
Remove from heat let sit for about 5 minutes, until very fine threads form when whisk is lifted from sugar. Dip whisk into sugar swing over rack, using a quick motion, to create long threads.
When rack is coated with a thin cobweb-like layer of sugar, lift it in one piece from rack, and roll it gently into a ball. Set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until 12 balls are formed.
Sugar Plum Fairy Freakshake | The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Have you had a chance to check out Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie yet? If you haven’t then I suggest you head out this holiday week to get into the Christmas spirit! Want to know what to expect of the film? Check out my Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie review. I think it will surprise you in a sweet way.
This post contains affiliate links.
Creating this recipe is not only fun but a great way to get your imagination inspired to use some of your favorite sweet treats! You can easily make these smaller and kid-sized for fun holiday parties or events. I’m sure the adults will love it just as much if not more! I mean, who doesn’t love a delicious milkshake topped with amazing candy? This Sugar Plum Fairy milkshake can be created with any of your favorite candy. That’s the best part of a freakshake!
- 1 8oz milkshake glass
- 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup of whole milk or non-dairy milk (we love using almond milk)
- 1 container of white frosting
- 1 glazed donut
- 2 heart shaped lollipops
- 1 star-shaped lollipop
- 1 small circle lollipop
- 1 large rainbow whirly pop
- 1 pink rock candy stick
- 1 purple rock candy stick
- 1 white rock candy stick
- 1 can of whipped cream
- 1 container of white crystal sprinkles
- purple gel food coloring
- pink gel food coloring
- 1 disposable piping bag
Creating Your Sugar Plum Fairy Milkshake
The best part of creating these freakshake recipes is the fact that you can use any of your favorite ingredients. There isn’t a limit and what you should or not use. Just pick out some of your favorite ingredients and let your character inspire you to create.
A Note About Sugar Plums
Fun fact: Despite the name, did you know that sugar plums have NOTHING to do with plums? They&rsquore actually a mixture of dried fruit, nuts and spices mashed together, then rolled in sugar.
If you want to learn more about real sugar plums and find out how to make your own, check out this post by Toni from Boulder Locavore.
But since most people don&rsquot know what sugar plums actually are, we&rsquore going to use sugars and plums in our sugar plum fairy cocktails. These taste so good, no one&rsquos going to give you a hard time.
Other Unexpected Smoothie Recipes
If you enjoyed this ginger plum smoothie and are looking for other fruit combinations that are out of the norm, there are several interesting recipes to choose from. A cantaloupe smoothie mixes the melon with orange juice, milk, vanilla yogurt, and a touch of honey if desired. To beat the heat of summer, try a watermelon smoothie, a creamy puree of frozen watermelon, milk, vanilla yogurt, and maple syrup.
When autumn approaches and that craving for pumpkin everything kicks in, instead of the calorie-laden coffee drink mix up a batch of a healthy pumpkin smoothy, which combines pumpkin puree with banana, vanilla yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, honey, and vanilla extract.