The first rompope was made by nuns in the Santa Clara convent in Puebla, Mexico in the 17th century, a derivation of Spanish ponche de huevo. At the time, the Catholic Church was prominent in government and society, and convents often hosted visiting officials and religious dignitaries. As such, fine cuisine was developed in the cloisters with the Clarists garnering much acclaim for their confections and sweets.

6 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
pinch nutmeg
rind of 1 lemon (remove with a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup ground almonds or ground pine nuts
1 ¼ cup rum

Bring milk, cinnamon, cloves, pinch nutmeg, lemon rind, vanilla, and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and ground almonds until thick and pale.

Remove cinnamon, cloves, and lemon rind from the milk and discard.

Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the yolk mixture.

Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

When cool, stir in rum or aguardiente and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

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