Hi everyone! I’m Cari from Well-Made Heart (a DIY & lifestyle blog). Thank you, Christine, for inviting me to share a simple recipe that’s near and dear to my heart.
When the weather starts turning and the cold starts to set in there are three things I always look forward to. The first is getting to wear boots all. the. time. I love that I don’t have to think twice about what shoes I’ll wear; boots go with everything! The second is fall/winter décor. If you check out my blog, you’ll see that I love decorating and designing my space and the holidays allow for so much variation and fun. And the third is enjoying all the foods of the season. Being half-Mexican and half-Nicaraguan allows me to enjoy holiday food from each culture, and it makes me appreciate each one! Today I have a traditional Mexican recipe that I’ve been enjoying ever since I was a little girl. It’s called Ponche (literally means Punch) and it’s a Mexican holiday staple that can be found simmering on the stove in most Mexican homes during the cold months.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this fruity goodness:
- 2 ½ to 3 quarts of water in large pot
- 3 Cinnamon sticks
- 6 Guavas, cut into chunks
- 5 small apples, cut into chunks
- 3 Tamarind pods, peeled and seeded
- 6 ounces of Piloncillo (can be substituted with stevia)
- 6 Tejocotes, whole
- 4 Prunes, halved
- Sugar Cane cut into long strips
Now, there are several items on the list that none of us use on a daily base, but they are what give Ponche its unique flavor. Tejocote is a fruit that is found in the mountains of Mexico and parts of Guatemala. It used to be banned in the U.S. and it was once on the list of most smuggled items- but thankfully it’s now accepted and can be found in any Mexican food grocery store. I have never seen them as fresh fruits, but you can find them in jar form (which is what I use in this recipe) or frozen. And while you’re at the Mexican grocer, you should also pick up Piloncillo, a pure un-refined sugar that is shaped into a cone. It’s similar to brown sugar, but without the molasses. You’ll also want to get some Tamarind pods. They look like long peanuts (that’s the best description I can give 🙂 ).
Start by letting your tamarind pods soak in warm water for about 30 mins. Once the are soft, peel off the brittle shell part and squeeze out the seed pulp into your pot water. Bring your water to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes and add the Piloncillo and the cinnamon sticks. For the Piloncillo you can use a cheese grater to grate the cone. After the water has boiled for about 5 minutes, lower the heat to a low simmer and add the guavas, apples, Tejocotes, prunes and sugar cane. Since the Tejocotes are already in liquid, they can be added now, otherwise they would have needed to be soaked with the tamarind since they tend to have a thicker skin.
Let the pot simmer for about an hour. This is when your home is going to smell fantastic! After about an hour you’ll notice that your apples are no longer floating. Taste and add sugar as you see fit. Most of the time no sugar needs to be added since the fruit releases its sweetness during the simmering.
Once it’s ready you can ladle the Ponche into mugs making sure to add some of the fruit. Also, you can add a stick of sugar cane to each drink. I placed cinnamon sticks in mine, but the traditional way uses sugar cane sticks that you can suck on! And that’s it! It’s super soothing and it just always brings up images of my childhood; my parents church always made huge pots of Ponche during our Christmas celebrations.
If you’re in Mexico during Christmastime, you’ll see street vendors sell Ponche on the sides of the street, but be careful! The true Ponche adds Brandy or Rum to the recipe 🙂 .
I hope you all enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for letting me share this with you, I hope you get to try it this winter. If you do, send me some photos and let me know how it came out! ‘Til next time, ♥ Cari