One of the things that defined the Christmas season for me (and perhaps our entire household) almost all through elementary and high school, was our annual performance of The Nutcracker. My twin and I went to the same ballet school and every year around Thanksgiving, parts would be assigned to excited little dancers, rehearsals for the ballet would start, and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score would start playing through our house. Honestly, I don’t think I could ever get sick of that music, but I could see why our two younger brothers and parents would groan when “Nutcracker season” started for T and I.
The show really became a family affair — my parents shuttled us to and from rehearsals, my mum helped us behind the scenes, and my dad even got on stage for a few years as one of the “guest fathers” during the opening scene. I wasn’t a particularly impressive ballerina –T was a much better dancer (he’s danced professionally, so ooobviously he’s the better dancer in this twin duo) and had prominent solo parts; I was happy enough to get my bits on stage and be part of the show. Although one year, when they couldn’t find a man to play the comedic role of “Mother Ginger” as they usually did, guess who ended up as the lady who was supposed to be in drag? This is what happens to tall, not very serious ballerinas…it’s a good thing I can laugh at myself.
It’s been several years since our Nutcracker days, but after going through countless rehearsals and performances, I’d bet that both T and I could remember the steps from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
These aren’t sugared plums in the traditional sense; they’re coated in maple syrup and tossed in brown sugar, so I think they earn the name (plus it’s oh-so-festive!). The recipe is adapted from this Classic Baked French Toast that was part of our Mother’s Day brunch back in May. Any type of baked French toast seems like a pretty lovely idea for an easy holiday morning treat; throw it together the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. I hope you enjoy it and merry Christmas eve!