Even though you can find ponche, fruit punch, year round in Guatemala and no town fair is missing the stands selling ponche de frutas, it is during the dry cool season when you find ponche almost everywhere you go to eat. The ponche above was prepared from package from Delfresco which includes the following dried fruits: apple, sugar cane, raisins, dried prunes, manzanilla (yellow plums), guava, pineapple, plátano (plantain), tamarind, cinnamon, and hibiscus tea and I added allspice, fresh chopped apple, pineapple and papaya. All of these ingredients were put in a put along a gallon of water and brown sugar was to taste (about a cup) and boiled for about 45 minutes.
Since, most of these tropical fruits can be hard to come by in the U.S. and Canada I searched for recipe that you can prepare at home with the fruits that you’re likely to find in your supermarkets. Thus, the recipe below was prepared by Paula, a Guatemalan living in Florida and the voice behind Growing up Bilingual. Make sure you pay a visit to Paula’s blog which is quite interesting.
Christmas in Guatemala and in Latin American countries in general is characterized by it’s wide array of colorful traditions and flavorful foods and drinks. The Fruit Puch in Guatemala is a traditional drink for Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, but many families including mine like to start preparing it as soon as the weather starts getting a little chilly. The ponche, served hot cinnamon and spices give it a special touch and complement the sweetness from the fruit. Even though Guatemala is known as the land of eternal spring, it still gets a little “fresco” or cool during November and December…
The fruit punch probably had it’s origin in a similar drink consumed by the Persians called “panch” wich was prepared with lemon, herbs, sugar and rum. This was later adopted by European countries like Spain, the drink evolved and the name changed to ponche. Each country gives ponche a special touch. Many countries add milk, eggs and rum. In Guatemala there are many versions and some of them include tropical fruits like papaya, mango and cocounut.
Recipe for Guatemalan Fruit Punch (Ponche de Frutas)
- 1 box of raisins, soaked in water
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup dried prunes
- 1/2 cup dried apples, and cubed apple pieces
- 1 pineapple
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 orange peel
- Sugar to taste
- 10 cups water
- ¼ cup rum (optional)
- 1 small papaya or dried papaya (optional)
Chop the dried fruit, finely chop the pineapple. Put all fruit in a pot and cover with water, add spices, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sugar to taste (depends on ripeness of fruit). Fill cups with punch and fruit, serve with a spoon to eat fruit, add rum if desired.