Eat your way through the holidays in Belize
We know you’ve been missing tiny Belize a little more than usual lately, especially for that annual December trip where you ring in the New Year atop the shores of San Pedro. While you may not be here physically, you can still celebrate with us in spirit through arguably the most exciting part of the holidays: food! Here are some Belizean holiday recipes you can try at home that make our Christmas here so special.
- Rum Popo. Often compared to eggnog, “rum popo” is an alcoholic drink as its name suggests. Everyone in Belize places their order early for the holidays so they can enjoy the thick, rich drink come Christmas time. Here’s how you can make it at home (recipe courtesy Flavors of Belize.)
- 4 large eggs, yolks separated (save the whites)
- ½ cup thick cream
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 large cans evaporated milk
- ¼ cup of rum to taste
- 2 tsp of vanilla
- 2 tsp nutmeg powder (you can also grate the nutmeg yourself)
-Whisk egg yolks and blend in together the cream, sugar, milk, rum, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Put to chill for 2 or 3 hours.
- Beat egg whites until fluffy and fold into egg yolk mixture.
- Belizean Fruitcake (black cake.) Is it really Christmas in Belize if you aren’t sending homemade fruit cakes to other fruit cakes—er, relatives? While they don’t have the same sweetness as a regular cake, Belizean fruit cakes have a tart flavor that is still really yummy to try. Here is the recipe courtesy of Belize Poultry Association via Chaa Creek blog.
- 2lb flour
- 1lb butter
- 3lb brown sugar (set 1lb of sugar aside for stewing fruit)
- 1pt. stout
- 1/2 pt. caramel colouring
- 1 qt. rum
- 1lb raisins
- 1lb currants
- 1lb citron
- 1lb dates
- 1lb cherries
- 1lb mixed peel
- 1lb pecans/walnuts
- 8 eggs
- 1tsp. baking powder
- 1tsp allspice
- 1tsp nutmeg
- Soak fruits in rum and sugar for at least seven days before making cake.
- Put aside some flour to use on fruits before adding to batter. This keeps fruits from settling at the bottom of the cake.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating constantly. Add flour, baking powder and spices into the butter, sugar and eggs mix with a spoon. Then add stout and colouring to the mixture. Beat for about four minutes at high speed. In a separate dish, pour the rum off the fruits.(The rum should be kept to add to the finished cake after cooling) Flour fruits and add to the batter.
- Heat oven to 300F. While the oven is heating, let batter "settle" a while. Line baking pan with aluminum foil or wax paper. Grease lightly with butter. Spoon batter evenly into the buttered pan about 3/4 full. Bake in slow oven for about three hours. Insert toothpick in center and it should come out clean when done.
- When cake is completely cool sprinkle rum all over. Garnished with cherries and walnuts.
- Flavouring improves with storing. You can sprinkle cake again with rum, brandy or wine before storing to enjoy later!
- texture preference can vary: some like it soaking wet, others like it more fruity, more plain or nutty. Feel free to make changes to the recipe as you like.
- Christmas Ham. Now for the honored guest at every Christmas dinner – Belize’s Thanksgiving turkey – is the Christmas Ham. Accompanied by some delicious dirty rice, stuffing, and any other sides you can think of, this ham is something every Belizean looks forward to during the holidays. Here’s a recipe courtesy of Grace Kennedy Belize.
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tsp Yellow Mustard
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- For Ham:
- 1 Ham of desired size
- 1/4 cup Yellow Mustard
- Glaze Preparation:
- Mix all ingredients
- Ham preparation
- Place ham fat side up in roasting pan.
- Spread Yellow Mustard over surface of ham.
- Roast (covered with foil) approximately 1317 minutes per pound.
- Remove ham 20 minutes before finishing.
- Remove any skin.
- Cut ham's fat surface in uniform diamond shapes and insert cloves in each diamond.
- Brush on glaze.
- Bake 10 minutes (uncovered).
- Reapply glaze and cook for another 1020 minutes or until glaze brown.
- Ham should be 135 degrees in center to ensure that cooking is complete.
For more information on things to do in Belize, call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686 or email us at [email protected]
Images courtesy of:
Rumpopo: Raye Caye Island Resort
Fruit Cake: Island Expeditions
Ham: Caribbean Culture & Lifestyle