We all know the line from The Night Before Christmas. If you're like me, though, and grew up with sugarplums nowhere in sight, you might have thought the kids were hallucinating, not dreaming of dessert.
Let me assure you they're real. Greengage plums are harvested in Portugal in late summer then submerged in sugar syrup, where they rest for six weeks, slowly absorbing sweetness. Finally, they're laid in the sun to dry. The long, complex process—similar to what happens with Marrons Glacés—makes a candied plum. These are slightly sweet, green and fuzzy on the outside like a peach. They have a pit, so watch out. Remarkably, the texture is firm, like a fruit you've just picked.
An English and Portuguese tradition that's very difficult to find in the United States.
"If Michelin rated fruits, greengages surely would merit three stars."
David Karp, The Art of Eating