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BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

December 6 2010

Ponche navideno - Mexican Christmas Punch

3/4 pound small apples or tejocotes, peeled and sliced
10 guavas, halved
1/2 pound raisins or prunes or a mixture of both
6 oranges, scrubbed and sliced with rind
1 cup jamaica (dried hibiscus) flowers
4 pieces sugar cane stalk, peeled and cut into strips (see note)
3 sticks cinnamon, each about 6 inches long
7 quarts water
sugar to taste (the usual proportion is 1/3 cup to each quart of water)
brandy, rum or wine to taste (optional)

Place the apples, guavas, raisins or prunes, oranges, sugar cane and cinnamon in a large stockpot with the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add sugar to taste, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. If adding brandy or other alcohol, add and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve hot in mugs. Serves 16-18.

NOTE: If sugar cane is unavailable, increase the amount of sugar added.