Hola! Are you getting ready for the holidays? I've been super excited now that I am back in my hometown enjoying the amazing food (and family and friends too, of course) and specially abusing my avocado intake. It is truly a modern day wonder to be able to obtain ingredients that come from all around the globe in your local supermarket, but even so the difference between local and imported products (aside from the price point) even if slightly is most of the times noticed. And it's not a bad thing, it's just an interesting thing to take into consideration while cooking something, which I think gives you a bit of a clearer glimpse into flavor and food properties that you can use in favor to better flavors. And I'm not talking only about the obvious examples like getting tortillas in a Los Angeles supermarket versus a supermarket in Guadalajara, but something as simple as eggs I've realized are different in color and taste. I guess some of us are always curious about food, so I would encourage everyone to visit supermarkets when traveling abroad, you'll be surprised of how different the produce can be, and you'll most likely be surprised as well of all the products you had no idea were imported to other countries.
All of this comes as a foreword for today's recipe: fruit punch. Here in Mexico it is commonly served during Christmas and posadas (more or less defined as holiday parties). Depending on your region, traditional abuela recipe, available fruits and personal taste, the ingredients vary but a couple of them are commonly present. I'll share a basic recipe that you can, and should, make your own with the produce available in your region. You can even opt to spike it up with rum or red wine, or have a "family friendly" drink and skip the alcohol. As a final note, most people add tamarind to the mix, if it is available in your country I recommend adding a couple or a bit of the pulp, I forgot to get mine at the market.
for 1 litre (4 servings), doubles easily
- 4 cups water
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 apple, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 3-4 guavas, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup piloncillo* (or brown sugar and/or honey, or sweetener of choice)
- 1 cup dried hibiscus (or black tea)
- OPTIONAL: sugar cane and tejocote; feel free to add any fruits you like: pinneaple, mandarin, pear, cherries, and so on.
- Place the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add your sweetener, hibiscus flowers (or tea) and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, let it soak for at least 10 minutes until the hibiscus infuses the water.
- Strain the hibiscus flowers (or tea) and return the infused water to the saucepan. You can leave the cinnamon stick or remove it; your choice.
- Bring back to a boil and add the fruits. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the fruit soften for at least 30 minutes.
- Once the fruit is super soft, taste your punch and adjust the sweetness to your liking. You can serve it warm or cold.
Warm punch is perfect for cold nights, and it goes well with savory and sweet food alike because it isn't as heavy as creamy drinks (like hot chocolate, eggnog, and so on), so you can have seconds and thirds easily. Or let it sit in the fridge overnight and drink it chilled after more flavor develops into the punch as time progresses. So throw everything in a pot, warm it up, and pour yourself a cup of your one-of-a-kind punch mix.