“…While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads…”
–Clement Clarke Moore
A combination of dried fruits, nuts, and spice a sugar plum is in fact not a plum at all! Originally, they were a type of comfit — a seed or nut coated with hard candy. Many recipes have evolved over the years combining fruits, nuts, and often honey to form delicious balls of sugar-coated goodness. Here, I have deconstructed the sugar plum flavors into a rich syrup which when combined with coffee creates a truly one of a kind festive latte. Enjoy!
• 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
• 1 teaspoon fennel
• 1 teaspoon anise
• 1 teaspoon almond extract 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
• 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
• 1/2 cup chopped dried prunes
• 1/2 cup chopped dried figs (pitted)
• A handful of almond slivers (*optional)
• 1 cup of coffee — Costa Rica la Pastora is an excellent choice as it’s honey and apricot tones pair perfectly with the fruit flavors of the syrup
• Decorative sugar and whipped cream for garnish
1) To make a “sugar plum” syrup first coarsely chop the dried fruits.
2) Combine the fruits with the fennel, anise, and caraway. Add in 2.5 cups of water and cook on a high heat bringing the contents to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes — until it reduces to a thick concentrated syrup.
3) Remove your syrup from the heat. Strain and add in the almond extract. Stir your syrup, saving any leftover portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator.*
4) Add 2 tablespoons of syrup to the bottom of a preheated mug and pour coffee into the mug until it is about 90% full. Stir your mug.
5) Top your sugar plum latte with whipped cream and sprinkle it with decorative sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and even crushed almonds if you like.
*This syrup may also be used in wonderfully flavored holiday sodas (by adding it to seltzer water). If you would like to adjust its color, add food coloring now.