Ponche de Navidad

1/2 lb. tamarind pods
2 cones piloncillo (or 2 c sugar)
2 ft. sugar cane, peeled and broken into strips
1/2 c raisins
2 cinnamon sticks
10 guavas, blossom end removed and cut in half
1 orange studded with 12 cloves
2 c tecojotes in syrup, drained*
1 c dried hibiscus flowers
1 pear, diced
1 apple sliced in rings
juice from 2 oranges
rum or brandy to taste

Remove the brittle shell and fibers from the tamarind pods. Cover with 2 cups boiling water and soak for 1-2 hours. Press the water and pulp through a sieve.
Cover the piloncillo with 4 quarts cups of water. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add the tamarind water, sugarcane, raisins,cinnamon, guavas, clove studded orange, and 1 c of peeled de-seeded tecojotes. Simmer for 1 hour.
While this is simmering away boil 6 cups of water, add the hibiscus. Turn of the heat and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add to punch. Mix well and add the pear, sliced apple, orange juice and 1 c whole tecojotes. Continue to simmer until the fruit has softened.
Ladle the hot punch into cups with some of the fruit. Add brandy or rum to taste.
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