Where Did It Come From?
What is Ponche de Crème and where did it originate you may ask? It originated in Venezuela and it is a cream-based liqueur comprised of eggs, lime peel, milk, Angostura bitters, nutmeg and of course rum! Growing up in Trinidad, this is one of the must have drinks for Christmas. There is no Christmas without Ponche de Crème, also known as punch-a-crema. It may be like eggnog, but a true Trini will tell you it is nothing close as it is very rich in flavour and much better.
How Is It Made?
As a child growing up in North Trinidad, I never had the privy to sit down and enjoy a glass of Ponche de Crème till I was 12 years old. However, the hustle and bustle of helping to make this was always a favourite of mine with my grandad while being the stirrer and taste tester. This drink is made up of our island spices and tasteful ingredients which gives it that burst of flavour such as citrus, spice, nutmeg for the nutty sweetness and lime zest. Dairy is the heart of the drink, giving it that creaminess together with the thickening agent of egg. Alcohol acts as a flavour enhancer and a preservative. Finally, the last ingredient sugar! It is used to you know, make stuff sweet (insert laughter here) and this is an important part in making this concoction.
A Cherished Tradition
Ponche de Crème recipes are usually handed down from generation to generation with measurements known by heart. This was a tough one to get this recipe as my grand father did not want to share the secret. He often prefers to go to everyone’s house and make it for aunts, uncles and cousins while listening to some sweet sweet parang mixed with ole talk. There are many new and improved versions available today with added flavours such as pumpkin spice, chocolate, amaretto and dulce de leche. However, the original recipe and taste is dear to my heart and I will prefer not to deviate from it.
This holiday classic is not hard to make. Be sure to look for the recipe in our recipe section and try it at home! You can make this boozy milk drink for yourself and guests for Christmas as everyone parangs from house to house. You may very well be the next house to visit so this is a good time to show off on what you can do. If you prefer nonalcoholic drinks, that is fine as well. Follow all ingredients minus the alcohol.
However, it is important to note for children and pregnant women raw egg should not be consumed. Salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to occur, but it is better to be safe than sorry with a peace of mind. You can bring a medium saucepan halfway filled to a boil then simmer. Combine sugar and eggs by whisking in a heat safe glass bowl continuously over the pan until it is white and creamy. This may take 5 minutes.
Our traditional recipe is not recommended for vegetarians due to eggs being a main ingredient. However, eggs can be substituted with pumpkin. You can either purchase pumpkin puree in the can or use fresh pumpkin. If you decide to go the fresh way, get 3/4lbs with no soft spots, peel it and throw into the blender then strain followed by the other steps of the recipe. An alternative for dairy milk can be almond or coconut milk using the same measurements.
Once completed, follow all other steps in the recipe. Sit back, serve with cold ice and enjoy. This drink also pairs great with black cake. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year readers!!!!