Twas The Night Before Christmas; Byzantine Sugarplums

Ever wondered what sugarplums were? Try this Byzantine sugarplum recipe this Christmas, from the poem Twas the Night Before Christmas.

This is a follow-on post from our discussion on sugarplums. You can find the Victorian sugarplum recipe here.

While researching the sugarplum, I also came across the Byzantine sugar plum. Making these is sort of a nod to Clement Clarke Moore being an American professor of Oriental and Greek literature. The ingredients were commonly found during the Byzantine Empire, something he may have been familiar with, and so we’re going to run with that concept. The original Byzantine Sugarplum recipe I came across can be found here from The Southeast Missourian newspaper, Dec 24 2003.

Personally these are my favourite between the two recipes. Not white sugar sweet, but rather sweet from the natural sugar in the dried fruits, and very doable to make.

Recipe adapted from Nourished Kitchen


Twas The Night Before Christmas; Byzantine Sugarplum

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  • Author: Bryt
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts (see note below)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup pitted prunes
  • powdered sugar to roll in


  1. Note: cover the walnuts in warm salty water and soak for at least 1 hour. The original recipe said to do this overnight, however having done it for only one hour was enough to take the bitterness out.
  2. Toss all ingredients, excluding powdered sugar, into the food processor and pulse several times until you have a paste.
  3. Scoop out into a bowl. Pinch off a tablespoon worth (for daintier bite size) and roll into a ball. Roll into powdered sugar and store in an airtight container.
  4. Note: The sugarplums often soak up the powdered sugar, so it’s suggested that you reroll again before serving.
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    1. yes you could leave those out and just up the amount of dates or apricots depending on your taste preference. Or you could replace them with dried figs etc.

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