In Mexico, ponche is made with tejocote (Crataegus pubescens), a fruit hard to find fresh in the U.S. We find the jarred version too gelatinous, but fresh seckel or other small pears make a good substitute.
- 2 lb. seckel pears
- 4 oz. tamarind pods, peeled
- 6 (6″) pieces fresh sugarcane, peeled and halved lengthwise (see Cutting Cane)
- 5 guavas, peeled, seeded, and quartered
- 3 tart apples, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
- 12 prunes
- 2 tbsp. raisins
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 2 cones piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar)
- Put pears and 15 cups water into a large pot and simmer over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon, cut in half lengthwise, and set aside.
- Add tamarind and sugarcane to same pot. Simmer, without stirring, until tamarind is soft and just begins to fall apart, about 30 minutes.
- Add reserved pears, guavas, apples, prunes, raisins, cinnamon, and piloncillo to pot and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes.
- Divide sugarcane and fruit between 12 8-oz. heatproof glasses and ladle in some of the hot punch.