Here is the cold hard truth: I have consumed more eggnog in the last week and a half than I have in the entire rest of my life. For real. See, I've always had a bit of a love hate thing for eggnog. Love the flavour, hate the notion that I'm drinking raw eggs. I've mentioned here before that I'm more than a tad squeamish about consuming raw eggs, and, though I tend to break my own rule when it comes to chocolate chip cookie dough, in all other circumstances I'll avoid anything with raw egg in it. I still haven't entirely forgiven my bridal party for serving me a cocktail with a raw egg white in it (and not telling me until after!) at my wedding shower. It's not a food safety thing, I get that the consumption of raw eggs *can* be safe under the right circumstances (please only use the freshest raw eggs possible, and never any with cracks or blemishes on the shell, and avoid any and all contact with the shell while you are breaking the egg) so if a traditional raw egg eggnog is up your alley, power to you.
Some years ago I did a search online for eggless eggnog and came up with this concoction which used instant vanilla pudding to thicken the eggnog. It was just okay, but only if you added a lot (A LOT!) of rum and nutmeg. Fast forward to this year when my sister and brother in law turned up for our Christmas in early December, I wanted to have eggnog and I wasn't about to serve something that came from a package. So I set about brainstorming an eggless eggnog where I would cook a vanilla pudding from scratch, but my favourite stove top vanilla pudding does have an egg in it after all. Could I be on to something? Then, over the course of my searching for alternative eggnogs, I discovered a few recipes for cooked eggnogs! Vad bra! Basically it's the same as making a thin (and rich and creamy) stove top vanilla pudding, custard, or sauce, all doctored up with cream and lots of wonderful spices.
I made one version for our holiday dinner and it was a hit. It wasn't quite what I wanted though, so I kept on trucking and made a few more batches. The end result is a hybrid of a couple of recipes; this one, and this one. The result is a thick, creamy, not too sweet, flavourful, home made eggnog which is safe for raw egg squeamish types and, if you leave out the rum, for pregnant ladies and little children. Everyone wins! Yay!
Hey, wait! Before you get all silly with home made eggnog, click over here and check out my friend Lindsay's photo project. It's cool, and it makes me happy to see such great shots of my home town. *Now* go get silly with eggnog.
One year ago: Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup
Cooked Eggnog Recipe:
Adapted from Jen Altman and Michael Ruhlman
The eggs and dairy are the stars of the show here, so use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on. I used organic whole milk and cream, and organic free range eggs. I served this eggnog with spiced rum and a dusting of fresh grated nutmeg, but bourbon or your favourite whiskey would be good choices as well.
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks*
¼ cup granulated sugar
fresh grated nutmeg
Set a mesh strainer over a large pot - large enough to hold all of the eggnog, or you'll be in a mad panic as eggnog is pouring out of the bowl and down the sink (trust me on that one) and set aside.
Split your vanilla bean lengthwise and using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out. Put both the seeds and the pods into a large pot. Add milk, cream, honey, and cinnamon. Set on the stove top over medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly - you don't want the milk to burn or a skin to form on top. Once the milk just barely reaches a boil remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer whip the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until they form a light yellow colour and the sugar is well incorporated. With the mixer running on a medium-low speed, begin to drizzle the hot milk in very slowly, one cup at a time. We're tempering the egg yolks here so they don't scramble. When all of the milk has been added, pour everything back into the pot and set back on the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Add plenty of fresh grated nutmeg to the mixture to your taste. Can I just say I added lots? Remove from heat.
Set the strainer and bowl into your sink (or on your counter if you're a good and careful pourer - I am not) and pour the eggnog through the strainer in case you've scrambled any egg (and don't panic if you have!). Then pour the eggnog into a jug or leave it in the bowl and set in the fridge to cool.
Serve over ice with spiced rum or whatever is your poison, and a dusting of fresh grated nutmeg. Enjoy!
Do ahead: cooked eggnog will last about 3-4 days in the fridge, or about 7 if you mix the rum in.
*Stop! Don't throw out those egg whites! There is so much you can do with them. Meringues! Angel food cake! Macaroons! Omelets or fritattas with extra egg whites added in! And if you're not ready to use them right away eggwhites will last about a week in the fridge in an airtight container, or much longer if you pop them in the freezer.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011