I know that Christmas has passed, but I have a burning question outstanding!
What is a true sugar plum? What is its history, and does anyone have an authentic recipe?
I have a terrific recipe for a confection that is called a "sugar plum" and uses dried figs, almonds, orange zest, unsweetened cocoa and honey. The final product is rolled in sugar, and I used my "vanilla sugar".
I am interested in the origins of the sugar plum and the original recipes.
A sugar plum is a candied plum. It's a method for preserving the fruit. It's a fairly long process. I'm sorry but I don't know the history of the process nor do I have a recipe, but I'd bet you could find one on the web by asking for candied whole fruit, or something like that.
What you describe sounds very much like a recipe I have for panforte.
Pat's answer below is what I had heard. I have read, but can't remember where, how it's done. Basically the water in the fruit is replaced with sugar syrup by a series of slow cookings in the syrup. Whole fruits done like this are available at some Italian bakeries, like Il Giardino in Chicago. Deborah Madison has a decent recipe for doing orange slices in one of her books...The Savory Way perhaps.