Christmas ponche

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 10
Christmas ponche
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In a large pot, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon and piloncillo over high heat until the water comes to a boil. Add the tejocotes and sugar cane. After 5 minutes, add the apples, hibiscus, prunes, raisins and tamarind. After 5 more minutes, add the guava. Reduce the heat to low. Serve hot, with rum, if desired.

Piloncillo, tejocotes, dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica) and tamarind are generally available at Latin markets.

Jonathan Gold was the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2007 and was a finalist again in 2011. A Los Angeles native, he began writing the Counter Intelligence column for the L.A. Weekly in 1986, wrote about death metal and gangsta rap for Rolling Stone and Spin among other places, and was delighted that he managed to forge a career out of the professional eating of tacos. Gold died July 21, 2018.
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