Jessica recently hung out with author and Hedley & Bennet Founder Ellen Marie Bennett to make holiday staples ponche and buñuelos.

Ellen, who is Mexican and English, grew up having both every holiday season and they remind her of the comforts of home.

To find out more about Ellen and her company, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes, Episode 137.

Ellen Marie Bennett’s Christmas Ponche


  • 2 Guavas
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Red apples
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 2 of piloncillo
  • Substitute dark brown sugar if unavailable
  • 4 to 5 Tejocoates (Hawthorne Apples)
  • Substitute for Crab Apples or gala apples if unavailable
  • 3 large cinnamon sticks
  • 5 to 8 cloves
  • 2 star anis
  • 3 to 5 tamarind pods
  • 2 cups of Unpasteurized apple juice
  • Salt


  1. Fill 1 giant pot or Dutch oven to the top with water. Add Cinnamon sticks, cloves, tamarind pods, piloncillo and a good healthy pinch of salt.
  2. Bring to a roaring boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Liquid should be a bit sweet and just salty enough to round it out
  3. While your liquid is boiling, chop up all the fruit and set aside.
  4. Once the liquid is ready, add in all of the chopped fruit and cook on medium-high heat covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Add in as much unpasteurized apple juice as your pot will allow and then season with salt to taste.
  6. Serve hot in mugs with a straight or with a splash of rum or brandy! Making sure every cp has a good chunk of sugarcane and lots of fruit.

Make it the day before because the longer the liquid sits, the more delicious it becomes!
If you do not have access to tejocotes you can substitute with crab apples.
The last ingredient that you might not yet be familiar with is piloncillo, which is a special type of raw cane sugar that has a delicious caramel flavor. It is often sold in cones, and for this recipe you’ll need one
No piloncillo? substitute dark brown sugar instead.



  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of butter 
  • Combination of cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on buñuelos


  1. Melt the butter and cool it down before adding it to the dough.
  2. In a bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add egg, butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add ½ – ¾ cup water until the dough is smooth and a good consistency.
  5. Cover and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough in balls and then on a floured surface, using a rolling pin, create a thin circle out of each ball (similar to a tortilla).
  7. Let the dough dry for a few minutes.
  8. Fry your buñuelos in hot oil until they are golden brown on each side.
  9. Place them on a wired rack so the oil can drain and immediately sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar.
  10. Feliz Navidad!