Wednesday, September 30, 2009

French Sugar Plums for an Autumn Festival

French Sugar Plums arrive in the produce markets just in time for the joyful autumn festival of Sukkot, the ancient Jewish harvest holiday which is observed by building and living in small temporary outdoor dwellings. The "sukkah" or booth, is decorated with seasonal fruits, and is required to have a roof made of organic materials such as palm fronds which allow one to glimpse the stars while dining and sleeping in the sukkah for the seven days of the holiday.

These small dusky blue plums are intensely sweet and make excellent eating out of hand. They travel well for snacks on the go, and are a favorite of tart bakers and jam makers for their flavor and dense texture. Select fruit which is unbruised and it will keep well if stored in a cool place in your pantry. A handful of fresh sugar plums is a perfect dessert for dinner in the sukkah, to be enjoyed as the autumn moonlight filters through its leafy roof.

Note: Sukkot is thought by historians to have been the model for the American Thanksgiving first celebrated by the Pilgrims.