Did you know that there really are such things as sugar plums? They are not candied fresh plums but are a combination of dried fruits, nuts and spices, all of which would have been treasured ingredients centuries ago, so used in special occasion sweets, as in for Christmas.
Makes about 2 ½ dozen
Cook's Note:To toast the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking tray or pie plate and toast for about 15 minutes, until they brown a little. Cool before using or storing in an airtight container.
Pulse the walnuts, prunes and cherries first, until the walnut pieces become the texture of crumbs. Add the raisins, dates, candied ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, anise seed, clove and allspice and pulse until evenly texture (the mixture will not come together like a dough).
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and scoop spoonfuls of the mixture and shape into balls by rolling in your palms. Roll the sugar plums in sugar to coat completely and place each in a paper cup. Store the sugar plums in an airtight container.
The sugar plums will keep up to a month in an airtight container.