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Punch Back

Our columnist shares an heirloom holiday drink recipe.

by Jean Hecker

One Christmas many years ago my mom bought my sister Linda and I each a big shiny silver-plated punchbowl set for our hope chests. We kinda just looked at each other, we were just teenagers, but we eventually came to understand and respect her choices. She wanted us to have keepsakes to always remember our parents and our times together. I’ve used that punchbowl every time I make her famous apricot brandy eggnog and it makes an incredible decadent statement.

This year I’m using it for a festive punch. Sometimes you just want something non-alcoholic to serve guests and this recipe is especially festive and enticing, shimmering in any type of punchbowl placed right in the center of the holiday table. Have a wonderful holiday and remember to give a keepsake to someone special.

Holiday Punch

Serves 20. Ingredients can be halved for smaller quantities.

First, make the cardamom-cinnamon Syrup:

Place 2 cups of white sugar in 2 cups of water with 4 cardamom-cinnamon tea bags, like Celestial Seasonings Bengal tea, in saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds, remove from heat and let steep for five minutes. Remove tea bags. Let cool to room temperature.

Punch Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cranberry juice, not cranberry juice cocktail
  • 4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 8 cups non-alcoholic sparkling wine. (If you wish, use an alcohol like Proseco.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly butter a springform pan.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, spices, and baking powder together.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until light and frothy, beat in brandy and vanilla. Stir in half of flour mixture, add in half of melted butter, then the flour, then the rest of the butter. Fold in apples and transfer to a prepared pan.

I like to wrap the bottom of the springform in foil and set on baking sheet. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

Cool for seven minutes in pan, then remove sides. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream, caramel sauce or whipped cream, or just sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you can, make an ice ring in a tube pan and fill it with mint sprigs, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and whole cranberries. Place ice ring in bowl just before serving.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought