INGREDIENTS: A selection of ingredients used to make ponche de creme.
Preparing Ponche de Crème
We continue our series in which we feature delicious yuletide delights. Last week it was sorrel and how to make it. This week another seasonal favourite Ponche de Crème , takes a bow.
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There are two ways to prepare ponche de crème but only one way to enjoy it—when it’s served on ice. “The colder the creme, the better the flavour is,” explained caterer Arlene Johnson. Johnson said some people are worried about the uncooked version because of concerns over eggs and salmonella but the high alcohol content and preparation process makes the tasty Christmas beverage safe to drink.
“Make sure all of your utensils and preparation materials are clean because you are dealing with eggs and milk and you want to keep everything as clean as possible,” Johnson noted. “You will need 1 dozen eggs, 6 tins condensed milk, 2 tins evaporated milk and a bottle of rum—I prefer puncheon rum because it’s strong and gives the drink a real kick. In addition to these basic ingredients, you should have the rind of a green lime, a pinch of grated nutmeg and keep your Angostura aromatic bitters on hand to give the drink some extra flavouring at the end,” she shared.
The first step is to beat the eggs with the lime peel in a large mixing bowl until the eggs are light and frothy. “You can use a blender but don’t put the lime peel in because the rind blended like that would spoil the tatste. Instead you can use a few drops of lime juice to ‘cut the freshness’ of the eggs. If you used the beating by hand method, remove the lime peel when the eggs are light. Add half of the rum to the eggs, stirring constantly. This is when I like to use the blender so the eggs blend well with the rum. Alternate adding rum and then milk, both the condensed and the evaporated at the same time, until all the liquids are well-blended. Finish with the grated nutmeg and your Angostura bitters to taste. Make sure to refrigerate the bottle so it would last you throughout the season. “
But what about the other way to make ponche de creme? Johnson said the cooked method takes more time but the product is essentially the same. “You will need a medium stainless steel bowl and with a hand beater, beat the 12 eggs with 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. Put the mixture into a double boiler and while the water is simmering, let the eggs cook until you see the sugar has completely dissolved. It looks a little like a custard at this texture. Remove the mixture from the heat and add 2 tins of condensed milk and 6 tins of evaporated milk. Blend that well. You don’t really need to use the lime zest in this recipe but if you like that taste, add a few drops of lime juice, the Angostura bitters and of course, the pinch of nutmeg. When the mixture is completely cool, pour it into sanitized glass bottles and keep it refrigerated, just like the uncooked version,” Johnson shared.
Not a fan of puncheon rum? Johnson said it’s fine to substitute golden rum if you prefer the taste. “You can experiment with the type of rum you use, it doesn’t matter. Again that comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer to leave the lime zest out completely. Some people don’t like nutmeg. I have a cousin who swears by adding fresh mint to her ponche de creme and it tastes lovely. One of the best parts of being in the kitchen for Christmas is experimenting so you can create a recipe that your family loves and appreciates,” she said.