The items we all covet…but what IS a sweetmeat ?

Often found in pairs, they have become a staple on mantelpieces everywhere. They flank mirrors in the best entryways. We ooh and ahh at then in magazines. But what the heck is sweetmeat.

Don’t be fooled by the name, sweetmeat are actually candied delicacies, a piece of candy or a piece of fruit covered with sugar. And the dishes made for them are fabooooolous.

We just found a great pair at an auction and cant wait to display them.

Anglo-Irish Antique Sweetmeat Dishes

These will look great on a dining table, buffet or mantel. The color is terrific.

Some other good examples:

So lets make some sweetmeat to eat and drink!

Sugar Plums

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g luxury dried fruits (a medley of raisins, currants, citrus peel, sultanas, apricots, figs, dates etc.)
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
  • 1 orange, zest of, grated medium
  • 2 -3 teaspoons brandy or 2 -3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or a mixture of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and allspice)
  • 12 pistachio nuts
  • 3 red cherries
  • Put all of the dried fruit, ground almonds and glace ginger into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the grated orange zest and mix well. Then add the brandy or orange juice and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together.
  • Mix the sugar and mixed spice together.
  • Divide the sugar plum fruit mixture into 12 pieces and then roll into small balls, before rolling them in the spiced sugar to coat them all thoroughly.
  • Cut the pistachios into slivers and cut the cherries into quarters, then push the pistachio slivers and cherry pieces into the top of the sugar plums, to imitate leaves and berries.
  • Place them into small paper cases if you wish and store them in an airtight tin for up to 4 weeks if made with brandy, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge if made with orange juice.
Sweetmeat the Drink

This drink takes the richness of roasted pecans and goes full-on Southern, pairing a nutty-flavored liquid with bourbon and a hint of peach.

INGREDIENTS
  • Ice
  • 1 3/4 ounces bourbon, preferably Belle Meade
  • 1 1/2 ounces Pecan Water (see related recipe)
  • 3 dashes peach bitters
DIRECTIONS

Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the bourbon, Pecan Water and bitters; stir for 30 seconds, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a coupe glass.

You can find our sweetmeat dishes at Rapscallions, our antique store in Maryland! and on Chairish!

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