Ponche Caliente Updated
I was invited to dinner last night and was hoping for some nice Mexican food because my hostess was born in Mexico and is a fabulous cook. Alas, southern cornbread with chunky beef and vegetable homemade soup and a nice green salad were on the menu. It was beautiful but I was hoping for Mexican. Then we were offered hot punch. It is a traditional Mexican hot punch and I was thrilled.
The recipe, loosely, is chopped fruit. You should use pineapple for sure and can add a mixture of apples, oranges, raisin, prunes or anything that may strike your fancy. Sweeten with sugar cane, add water and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 5 minutes.
The other 'must add' is chopped walnuts. The walnuts make this unique and memorable. It was lovely. I found this recipe somewhere online and it is very similar to what we had but has no walnuts. Add walnuts!
Mexican Christmas Hot Punch (Ponche)
When Christmas time rolls around, in the biggest pot you can get your hands on—like the one grandma used to seal her canning jars in, boil the following items:
½ kilo of peeled sugar cane, cut into 3 inch lengths then split lengthwise into string-cheeze sized sticks.
½ kilo cored, and very coarsely sliced apple.
½ kilo quartered guavas
½ kilo tejocote (tey-ho-co-tey)
½ kilo tamarindo (ta-ma-reen-do) (This is a seed pod with a sour flavor that is common in Mexico.)
1/4 kilo prunes or raisins
1/8 kilo cinnamon sticks broken into large pieces
½ kilo piloncillo (pee-lone-see-yo) (This is a delicious form of brown sugar traditional in Mexico.)
Sugar to taste (If you can’t get piloncillo, I recommend that you use 100% brown sugar for your punch)
Boil until all of the fruit is very soft.
Serve hot with brandy or tequila on the side for those who like a little nip.
Makes 5 gallons of punch
Note: a kilo is 2.2 pounds. If you want to make this recipe in the US, multiply everything by two. The amounts are approximations and you can feel free to change the proportions in any way you would like.
Don’t worry if you can’t get the Mexican ingredients; it’ll still taste delicious!
Leave the skins on all of the fruit, it makes for better flavor and texture. Serve the punch with chunks of fruit. Part of the punch experience is getting at the fruit once you’ve enjoyed the liquid.