an EGGNOGstravaganza! Part I: eggnog

22 Dec

I remember the first time I had eggnog- it was at my childhood best friend’s house, back when we lived in Minnesota.  I must’ve been ten or so, and I immediately loved this ridiculously rich, creamy, mildly spiced drink.  I loved it so much that I’ve only had it five times or so since.  Including a disastrous attempt to make homemade eggnog in high school, back before we knew how to use allrecipes and followed an old Joy of Cooking cookbook I had lying around.  That tasted like raw eggs sitting in milk, which is what it was.  That’s also what my first attempt at eggnog this year ended up as, which explains the coming posts of eggnog bread pudding, eggnog loaf, and bacon-stuffed eggnog french toast (no need wasting perfectly good eggs and cream!)  But my second attempt was AMAZING.  I know I raved about how great ambrosia is during my last post, and that I’ve talked about how pavlova is the best thing I’ve ever made, but damn.  This eggnog.  Definitely the best drink I’ve ever made.

So let’s start with the eggnog, shall we?  I did a comically awful job taking photos of the eggnog because it was SO GOOD that I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  I had to go to the store to buy cream, but other than that I had all the ingredients on hand: butter, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and (optionally) rum.  Actually I didn’t have cloves so I used star anise instead and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND USING STAR ANISE.  It’s so sweet and so spicy and just a great, underused ingredient.

“Illicium verum 2006-10-17”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Also note that this is an overnight recipe.  It’s really really good as soon as you make it but it’s even better the next day.

First, steep your milk with the spices.  If you had a cinnamon stick lying around now would be a good time to take it out.  I just put in ground cinnamon and a few star anise, then heated the milk on low while I separated the eggs.

This would make an at first delightful smelling STEEPlechase, but then the milk would go sour and everything would be bad

This would make an at first delightful smelling STEEPlechase, but then the milk would go sour and everything would be bad

The recipe I used called for a dozen eggs, but I got tired of separating eggs so I used seven.  It still turned out great!  I think six at minimum.  Honestly a dozen eggs might be too rich, though not if you add rum (I made some non-alcoholic by omitting rum).  Anyways, for a note on how to separate eggs see this old post.  Separate your eggs.

Very clearly separate and not equal

Very clearly separate and not equal

Once everything is separated, turn the milk heat up to high.  Cover the whites and put them in the fridge or freezer.  I put them in the freezer and it was a pain in the butt to thaw them the next day so I’m not sure why I did that.  You will use the whites the next day though so hang on to them!

Whisk the yolks with the sugar until nice and fluffy.  I was thinking about using the stand mixer for this, but the hand whisk worked just as well.

This is a labor oF LUFF. Alternate caption: Instead of naming planes after numbers like F-10s, maybe they should include the airline name too.  So you could have a F-LUFFthansa

This is a labor oF LUFF.
Alternate caption: Instead of naming planes after numbers like F-10s, maybe they should include the airline name too. So you could have a F-LUFFthansa

Now pour some of the hot milk (which is now hot because remember you turned the heat up?) into the egg bowl and whisk some more.  You’re tempering the eggs so they don’t turn into scrambled eggs sitting in milk (oh high school).  This is a mildly technical task but you know me- I don’t care too much about details (it still turns out awesome), so don’t worry.

I want some of those tamper evident stickers but change them to say temper evident.  Then I could put them on custards and on my baby

I want some of those tamper evident stickers but change them to say temper evident. Then I could put them on custards and on my baby

Just keep adding a little hot milk and whisking until the mixture looks pretty smooth.  Dump it back into the pot with the rest of the milk and stir constantly over medium heat until it gets thick, or until you get tired of mixing (which is what I did).  It’s about three minutes either way.  Let it cool for an hour, then add the cream, vanilla, nutmeg, and rum if you’re using it.  Also take out the star anise.  Throw it in the fridge overnight.

We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!  Well, we have one.  Actually, if you think about how my stomach felt during pregnancy, we also have the latter

We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher! Well, we have one. Actually, if you think about how my stomach felt during pregnancy, we also have the latter

The next day, take out your egg whites and let them come to room temperature.  Throw them in a stand mixer or use an electric one and mix them until they’re frothy and stiff, like in the next photo.

If I get a dog, maybe I'll get a couple of small greyhounds- I always seem to need two whippet(s) This is  both an old photo and old caption

If I get a dog, maybe I’ll get a couple of small greyhounds- I always seem to need two whippet(s)
This is both an old photo and old caption

Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the chilled eggnog, and serve.  SO GOOD SO FLUFFY SO TASTY.  Sorry for lack of photo.

Amazing eggnog, adapted from allrecipes

6-12 eggs, to your taste (12 makes it super rich, 6 is light and delightful.  I went with 7)

1 qt of milk (2 pts, 4 cups)

1- 1 1/2 c sugar, also to your taste (1 1/2 is way sweet, 1 is light.  I did a bit over 1)

2 c rum, also to taste

3 c cream (I used a cup of cream the previous day so I had this much.  You could also use 2 or 4)

1 TB vanilla

1 cinnamon stick and/or 1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 star anise pods

1 tsp nutmeg

Over low heat, combine the milk, spices, and 1 tsp of the vanilla.  Let it steep for five minutes, or however long it takes you until we mention this again.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a container for the fridge and the yolks into a medium-large bowl.  Refrigerate the whites.  Turn up the heat to high on the milk.  Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in a little hot milk (I did about 1/2 c at a time) and whisk until smooth.  Do this about three times until you have a very smooth and warm egg-milk mixture.  Pour the bowl of egg milk into the pot of milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for three minutes.  Let cool for an hour.

Take out the star anise pods.  Add the cream and remaining vanilla.  If you’re using rum, add it.  Refrigerate overnight.

About half an hour before you want to serve the nog, take out the egg whites.  About ten minutes before serving, beat the whites on high until foamy and stiff.  Then use a rubber spatula to gently fold the whites into the nog.  Best served in a punch bowl, as a pitcher will leave the foamy stuff out.  Garnish with some more ground nutmeg, fresh if you can get it.

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