A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 01, 2008
Ponche Navideño or Ponche de Navidad (Mexican Christmas Punch)

Texans of Mexican heritage often serve a traditional Ponche Navideño or Ponche de Navidad (Christmas Punch). The drink is usually made with tecojotes (a Mexican fruit resembling a crabapple, not always available in the United States). Other ingredients can include apples, pears, prunes, raisins, cloves, cinnamon and sugar.

Brandy or rum can be added, making it “Ponche con Piquete” ("punch with sting").


Wikipedia: List of Christmas dishes
This page is a list of Christmas dishes as eaten around the world. These items are traditionally eaten at or associated with the Christmas season.
(...)
Mexico
. Ensalada de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Salad)
. Bacalao (Clipfish or Cod Fish)
. Romeritos (Small green leaves of a particular type mixed generally with mole and potatoes. Generally accompanied with “tortitas de camarón” (shrimp bread).)
. Pavo (Turkey)
. Tamales (Some Mexican families, particularly in the northern part of Mexico and southern American states have tamales only at Christmas eve instead of the typical Bacalao, Romeritos and/or Turkey. This is a sign of less Spanish heritage.)
. Ponche (a hot, sweet drink made with apples, sugar cane, prunes and tejocotes. For grown-ups, ponche is never complete without its “piquete” - either Tequila or Rum -)

Wikipedia: Crataegus pubescens
Crataegus pubescens is commonly used as the scientific name for Mexican Hawthorn or Tejocote, a species of hawthorn native to Mexico. However, the scientific name C. mexicana DC. was published earlier (1825 rather the 1840) for this species and therefore has priority.

It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 5-10 m tall, with a dense crown. The leaves are semi-evergreen, oval to diamond-shaped, 4-8 cm long, with a serrated margin. The flowers are off-white, 2 cm diameter. The fruit is a globose to oblong orange-red pome 2 cm long and 1.5 cm diameter, ripening in late winter only shortly before the flowers of the following year.

The fruit is eaten in Mexico cooked, raw, or canned. It resembles a crabapple, but it has three or sometimes more brown hard seeds in the center. It is also a main ingredient used in ponche, the traditional Mexican hot fruit punch that is served at Christmas time and on New Year’s Eve, as well as being used on Day of the Dead, where the fruit as well as candy prepared from it are used as offerings to the dead, and rosaries made of tejocote fruit are part of altar decorations. The mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos, because it resembles a tiny train rail. Rielitos are manufactured by several brands.

Practically Edible
Tejocotes
Tejocotes are like teeny golden apples, though the colour can range from reddy-orange to a translucent golden yellow. They have a sweet and sour taste, which is reminiscent of something between a plum and an apricot.
(...)
Tejocotes are used in making a traditional Mexican Christmas punch, served hot. Every Christmas, US inspectors at the Mexican border prepare for an onslaught of smuggled Tejocotes. The shipments are seized for fear of insects on them. There is as of now (2004) no significant production within America.

Traditional Mexican Christmas Recipes
Ponche Navideño: Punch
12 quarts water
10 oz tejocotes
6 oz walnuts
5 oranges juiced
8 guavas
4 sugar canes
10 oz prunes
3 sticks cinnamon
2 lb. sugar
1 quart brandy (optional)

Wash fruit. Cut the sugar cane into strips. Cut guava.
Boil everything together, except the sugar.
When cooked add the sugar and brandy.

Traditional Mexican Christmas Punch
Ponche Navideño
8 quarts water
1 lb tejocotes
3 whole oranges
8 guavas
2 lbs sugar cane
1 lb pitted prunes
3 pears
1 C. raisins
6 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 sticks cinnamon
1/2 C. whole cloves
2 1/2 lb. piloncillo
3 C. brandy or rum (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring one quart of water to a boil. Add the tejocotes, lower the heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes until softened. Remove the fruit, peel and cut off the hard ends.

Prepare the fruits: Peel the sugar cane and slice it into medallions. Remove the stems and cores from the pears and cut into large chunks. Cut the guavas and prunes in half. Stud the oranges with the whole cloves. Cut the cone of piloncillo into large chunks.

In a very large pot (like your grandma used to use for canning), bring the remaining water to a boil. Add all the fruits and nuts to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for one-half hour, stirring gently now and then. Add the piloncillo and cinnamon. Simmer for another half hour.

Remove from heat. Ladel into cups, making sure each cup gets some chunks of fruit and nuts. Add rum or brandy to each cup as desired.

Serve hot. Will make at least 30 servings.

About.com: Mexican Food
Ponche Navideño- Christmas Fruit Punch Recipe
By Chelsie Kenyon, About.com
Ingredients:
10 quarts drinking water + 2 quarts hot water
8-10 tejocotes
2 tamarind pods
6 guavas
3 lbs sugar cane
1/2 lb prunes
1 cup green apples, peeled and chopped
2 pears, peeled and chopped
4 large oranges (or 6 medium ones) juiced
1 tsp ground cloves
8oz walnuts, chopped
2 lbs piloncillo
2 cinnamon sticks
1 pint of Brandy (optional) (...)

Mexican Drinks
Christmas Punch
Hot fruit punch is always associated with POSADAS and Christmas festivities.
If the tropical tejocotes and guavas are not available, substitute the fruit of your choice.
Hibiscus flowers impart a lovely red color to the punch along with a slightly dry, pleasant taste.
If you cannot get them, rose petals will color your punch.

6 QUARTS WATER
1 CUP PRUNES, PITTED AND CHOPPED
2 1/4 POUNDS TEJOCOTES OR DRIED APRICOTS, WASHED AND OPENED SLIGHTLY WITH A CROSS CUT
16 GUAVAS, CUT IN QUARTERS
1½ CUPS HIBISCUS FLOWERS, WASHED (SOLD DRY IN MEXICAN MARKETS)
6 SUGAR CANE STICKS, PEELED AND CUT INTO QUARTERS
1 BOTTLE WHITE WINE
2 PILONCILLO CONES OR TO TASTE (SUBSTITUTE 2 CUPS DARK BROWN SUGAR)
2 CUPS APPLES,CHOPPED
2 CUPS PEARS, SEMI-RIPE, CHOPPED
½ CUP RAISINS
2 ORANGES, EACH SPIKED WITH 10 WHOLE CLOVES
4 CINNAMON STICKS, 6 INCHES LONG
2 CUPS LIGHT OR DARK RUM TO TASTE

Place the water in 3 large saucepan or stockpot. Add the prunes. and tejocotes and cook for about 20 minutes or until the fruit softens.
Then add the guava, hibiscus flower, sugar cane, white wine, piloncillo, apples, pears, raisins, oranges and cinnamon sticks. Simmer for 1 hour.
Serve punch hot, being sure to ladle fruit Into each mug. Add rum at the last minute.
SERVES 16.

Mexican Traditions for Christmas
For the adults there is always “Ponche con Piquete”(sting), which is a hot beverage or “Punch” made out of seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks, with a shot of alcoholic spririt. A good substitute here in Ohio is hot apple cider with fruits, without the “spirits”.

Google Books
Good Food from Mexico
By Ruth Watt Mulvey and Luisa Maria Alvarez
New York, NY: M. Barrows and Company
1950
Pg. 255:
PONCHE DE NAVIDAD (Christmas Punch)
1 orange
2 cups sauterne, well chilled
Rind of one-half lime
2 sprigs mint, leaves only
2 tablespoons orange Vi cup (...)

8 December 1976, New York (NY) Times, “Visions of Sugarplums From Faraway Lands” by Mimi Sheraton, pg. 63:
Spain, Mexico and Latin America
Many of the South American Christmas specialties are made in homes, especially the ponche de noche-buena (Christmas Eve punch) and desserts such as sopa borracha (drunken soup), fried, rum-soacked pound cake, and the Mexican buñelos, the anise-flavored doughnuts dipped in sugar syrup and eaten on Dec. 17 in honor of Oaxaca’s patron saint, the Virgin of Solitude.

Google Books
Traditional Mexican Cooking and its best recipes
By Adela Fernández
Published by Panorama Editorial
1987
Pg. 98:
Christmas punch (Ponche navideño)
Ingredients
12 quarts water
10 oz. tejocotes
9 oz. prunes
5 oz. pecans
4 pieces sugarcane
6 oranges
10 guavas
3 sticks cinnamon
2 lb. sugar
1 quart sugarcane spirit

Method
Cut the sugar cane into strips, wash the fruit thoroughly and cut the guavas into pieces. Boil in the water with the sugar cane, tejocotes, prunes and cinnamon. When cooked, add the sugar. Remove from heat and add the brandy.

Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer
MEXICO SAVORS ITS CHRISTMAS FOR 9 EVENINGS
By Wanda Adams P-I Columnist
WEDNESDAY, December 21, 1988
Section: Living, Page: C1
(...)
Guests are routinely welcomed with hot, sweet drinks. There might be punches made with tropical fruits such as guava or tejocote, something like an apricot; cocoa made with Mexican chocolate, which is flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, or atole, a sweet or spicy drink thickened to the consistency of a milkshake with masa (cornmeal flour), she said.

25 December 1997, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Scenes of Christmas”:
... such as tamales; posole, a hominy stew; and ponche, a hot fruit punch made with whole sugar cane, guayaba, tejocote, golden apples and cinnamon sticks.

Google Books
Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories
By Esmeralda Santiago and Joie Davidow
Illustrated by Jose Ortega
New York, NY: Knopf
1998
Pg. 58:
The punch bowl can be filled with any combination of juice and soda. In Mexico, the Ponche de Navidad often includes indigenous fruits, like guava and ...

St. Petersburg (FL) Times Online
Fest relives spirit of old Mexico
Hispanics in Wimauma, many of them migrant farm workers, celebrate the Posada, a Christmas tradition, on Sunday.

By ANGELA MOORE
St. Petersburg Times, published December 18, 2000
(...)
But the Posada, at least one this large, is not usually performed in Hillsborough County. More than 500 people gathered at the civic center Sunday afternoon for a Mexican Christmas celebration that included the Posada and other traditions, such as breaking pinatas and drinking ponche navidena, a punch made with baked guavas, sugar cane and tejocotes.

Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: “Linda” Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 08:07:19 -0800
Local: Sun, Nov 16 2003 10:07 am
Subject: Ponche Navideno

Source: http://www.vanilla.com

Ponche Navideno
Hot Mexican Christmas Punch

All through Latin America people serve a special punch at midnight on Christmas Eve. This is Agustin Gaytan’s recipe for Mexican Ponche Navideno. I was served ponche in Guatemala that contained dried plums, raisins, and walnuts but not guavas or crab apples. If you would like to make this punch but can’t find some of the ingredients, use substitutes that are available. For instance, tamarind pods are a primary flavor in this ponche. If you can’ t find tamarind pods, substitute apple cider. It won’t be the same, but it will still be flavorful.

Ingredients
2 gallons water
4 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
4-inch cinnamon stick
2 lbs. piloncillo (if necessary, substitute brown or turbinado sugar)
3 green apples, cut into eighths
1/2 cup raisins
10 prunes
10 tamarind pods, peeled
6 preserved guavas
10 preserved manzanitas/tejocotes (wild apples or crab apples)
rum or brandy to taste (optional)
1 3-gallon pot

Instructions
In the pot mix all the ingredients together except liquour and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Serve hot with rum or brandy to taste.  Place a vanilla bean or a 4-inch cinnamon stick in each mug or cup for people to stir the ponche.

Google Books
Food Culture in Mexico
By Janet Long-Solis, Long Towell Long, Luis Alberto Vargas
Published by Greenwood Publishing Group
2005
Pg. 152:
At this time a refreshment such as hot chocolate, atole, or a Christmas punch called ponche navideño may be offered. There are many recipes for this beverage, most of which include fruits such as crab apples, apples, pears, and guavas, as well as sugarcane sticks, brown sugar, and stick cinnamon. A shot of rum can be added to the punch served to an adult of it is requested. This is called ponche con piquete, or “punch with a sting.”

Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: “Jack Tyler”
Date: 4 Dec 2006 08:15:31 -0800
Local: Mon, Dec 4 2006 10:15 am
Subject: Ponche Navideno

You can argue about who eats what in Mexico… but rich, or poor, everybody seems to enjoy Christmas punch:

6 Quarts of water.
1 Cup of prunes, pitted and chopped.
2 1/4 Pounds of Tejocotes or dried Apricots, washed and opened slightly with a crosscut.
16 Guavas cut in quarters.
1 1/2 cups of Hibiscus flowers (washed).
6 sugar cane sticks peeled and cut into quarters.
1 Dottle of White Wine.
2 Piloncillo Cones (or two cups Dark Drown Sugar).
2 Cups chopped Apples.
2 Cups Pears (semi ripe) chopped.
1/2 Cup Raisins.
2 Oranges each spiked with 10 Whole Cloves.
4 Cinnamon Sticks, each 6 inches long.
2 Cups Dark Rum.

Place the water in a large saucepan and add the prunes and tejocotes and cook for 20 minutes, or until the fruit softens.  Add the guava, hibiscus flower, sugar cane, white wine, piloncillo,m apples, pears, raisins, oranges and cinnamon sticks.  Simmer for an hour.  Serve hot.
Serve a chunk of fruit in every mug. Add the rum (to the mug) at the last minute so the chilluns can have some punch, too.  The alcohol has already cooked out of the wine.

All of the ingredients are available in many places… substitutions are great with other sweet fruits, if necessary.

This recipe is based upon a Patricia Quintana recipe.  I wouldn’t do a Christmas party, or have people drop in on Christmas without serving it.

Ponche Recipe? - Spirits - Chowhound
this ponche was a hit during the holidays.

ponche navideño (christmas punch)
prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 1 hour
serves: 24

1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar (not packed)
10-12 cups water
2 cups dried apricots, halved (substituted for tejocotes, which you may be able to find at a hispanic market)
2 cups fresh guavas, quartered
2 fresh pomegranates, cut in half
2 cups pitted plums, halved
3/4 cup sugarcane, cut into 1-inch pieces (i left mine whole; it was hard to cut)
1 cup dark rum

dissolve the sugar in the water and add the fruit and sugarcane. heat and simmer gently until the fruit is cooked through, about 1 hour.
add the rum and serve hot.

adapted from “the mexican mama’s kitchen” by sofía larrinúa-craxton
wowimadog Jan 17, 2007 01:52AM

Sofia Larrinua Craxton
December 09, 2007
Mexican Christmas Punch and memories
(...)
Ponche de Navidad

Makes a large container enough for a large party!

● 25 tejocotes (1 tejocote is roughly the size of a small peach)
● 15 guavas
● 1 cup raisins
● 1 cup dried prunes
● 1 cup dried apples
● 6 pieces of sugar cane cut into sticks of about 2 inches
● 4 apples or apricots
● cinnamon sticks -about 4 inches in total
● muscovado sugar to taste
● rum to taste
● about 15 cups of water

1 cup = 250 ml

Quarter all the fruits, making sure they all are bite sized.  Bring the water to just below boiling point and add the sugar, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and add the fruit, add the cinnamon sticks and cook on a gentle simmer -below boiling point, don’t allow to bubble, until the liquid reduces and the ponche resembles a syrupy stock, taste and reduce if necessary or add a little water if it is too strong.  Just before serving add a little rum and stir, drink immediately!

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Monday, December 01, 2008 • Permalink


In New York, fresh tejocotes are the toughest ingredient to track down; I’ve seen them only at one small grocery.

Posted by Dave Cook  on  12/14  at  04:34 PM

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