Ponche Crema!

This is a creamy, luxurious liqueur made with eggs, milk and rum. You could call it eggnog’s Latin cousin. It is a traditional Christmas drink in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela and you can’t go visiting or to a holiday party without being offered a glass or several. Ponche Crema is usually the first Christmas comestible I make in December and it’s the one I will always make. I’ve abandoned sugary sorrel and ginger beer, to my sorrow, but I don’t think Christmas would come properly if I gave up ponche crema.

The recipe I use comes from The Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook. This is a wonderful Caribbean cookbook and I’m not just saying that because it’s my old school. The recipes are family ones and aimed at the beginning and intermediate cook. Nutrition information is provided and little cooking tips are scattered throughout the book. I think my mother has included a copy in her wedding gifts to all her married nieces.

This recipe uses raw eggs. I’ve never had a problem but you can cook the eggs over a double boiler if you prefer.

Required:

  • 2 bottles (750 mls) Trinidadians use the same ones they’ve been consuming rum, whiskey or whatever from all year. Screw tops are essential.
  • 1 funnel: makes it easier to fill the bottles
  • Holiday music! You’re making delicious booze, it’s necessary. I’m eclectic and I love a mixed CD. My current favourite mix includes local songs like Homemade Wine and Eat Something Before you Go, Celtic Woman, Sinatra and Dean Martin and Old English carols like The Holly and the Ivy.

Ponche Crèma:

Serves 12: 272 calories per serving

Ingredients:

6 eggs

Peel of 1 lime

3 cans of evaporated milk (low fat) (15 oz.)

1½  cans condensed milk or to taste (14 oz.)

1 tsp. aromatic bitters

½ tsp. grated nutmeg

½ cup rum or more

Method:

  1. Beat eggs and lime peel until light and fluffy
  2. Add evaporated milk
  3. Sweeten to taste with condensed milk
  4. Add bitters, grated nutmeg and rum according to taste
  5. Remove lime peel and serve over crushed ice

N.B: Substitute 1½ cups pureed steamed pumpkin for eggs for an eggless version.

Drink, enjoy and don’t worry about the calories. It’s only once a year!

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