December 12, 2005

eggnog1.jpgMany years ago, I was wild and reckless and thinner than I am today. And so when the holiday season came around, I would make frequent large batches of eggnog. I love it. It's a girly drink, yes. Sweet and creamy, yes. But the way I made it was also highly alcoholic and rich to an extreme. The recklessness came in the fact that I never bothered to cook my eggnog, preferring to use raw eggs, as God intended. Or some bartender somewhere intended, anyway.

Now that I am older and fatter (notice I did not say "wiser") I tend to make a cooked eggnog. I'm not actually that worried about getting sick from a bad egg; this is pretty uncommon in France, a combination of the rarity of salmonella in general and the fact that eggs do not travel nearly as far to get to my refrigerator. Most visitors from the US are initially shocked to see eggs in the un-refrigerated section of the supermarkets. So the reason I tend to cook my eggnog is that my metabolism can no longer handle without serious weight gain the amount of eggs and cream you need to make a nice thick eggnog without cooking it. If your eggnog is actually a kind of a thin custard, you can use milk for part of the liquid and cut down on the eggs and still feel like it's rich. If you want it raw, you'll need a higher proportion of eggs to liquid and ALL the liquid should really be cream. Well, aside from the alcohol of course. I may cut down on the eggs or cream, but I'm never going to eliminate the hard liquor from my eggnog. Some things are just sacrosanct.

The following recipe is an amalgam of two separate experiments I made in eggnog. (The sacrifices we at TMC are prepared to make for you, the Reading Public, have to be seen to be believed.) The first mix had the right combination of spices, but lacked a little creaminess. The second time I tried to make a raw eggnog, decided I simply didn't have enough eggs in the fridge to make it right and cooked it instead (but didn't have the nice spice mix). So this one is the best of both worlds.

Holiday eggnog

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup light cream
2 eggs
2 Tbs sugar
3 cloves
2 cardamom pods
a good grating of nutmeg
a dash of cinnamon
alcohol - a good dark rum or a sweet Bourbon whisky

Beat the eggs in a small saucepan with a whisk until thick and yellow. Stir in the milk, cream and sugar. Add the rest of the spices (but NOT the alcohol - you don't want to risk it boiling away). Bring to the verge of a boil (the liquid at the edges of the pan will start to buckle a bit) and then turn the heat down as low as you possibly can and allow to cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring all the while. When the cream and eggs coats the back of a spoon with a thick gloss, it is done. Pour the eggnog into a strainer held over a pitcher and either serve warm or cool it off first in the refrigerator. Straining the eggnog will remove the cardamom pods and cloves, and will also remove any bits that may have curdled. This stuff will curdle in the 5 seconds it takes your brain to process the thought "Hm, looks a little hot, perhaps I should turn down the heat..."

For a more traditional eggnog, leave out the cardamom and cloves. I think they add a welcome exotic touch and make the whole a lot more interesting than your usual eggnog. They go particularly well with a complex dark rum. And yes, please do not forget the alcohol. Otherwise, it's just empty calories.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at December 12, 2005 12:44 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Well you put it in a Martini glass and all of a sudden i want eggnog. I've never made my own before and in fact have never really been tempted to drink it either--until now! Im shocked! But as soon as I saw cardamom in the recipe, that was it.. It will be an eggnoggy christmas this year for sure :)

Posted by michele on December 12, 2005 at 6:31 AM

Ha! Without the alcohol it's just empty calories. I love it!

Posted by barrett on December 12, 2005 at 9:55 AM

This sounds delicious, in a festive way. I do have a question though, I'm totally unfamiliar with rum. Any particular brands you would recommend?

Posted by Seth Anderson on December 12, 2005 at 10:12 AM

The rum I used is fro J. Bally, a Martinique one. I chose it because one of our favourite restaurants in Paris uses it in the baba au rhum. (They actually place a full bottle of rum on the table when they serve the cake. Not only that but they continue to do it despite that first time we were there when some of the rum found its way into our glasses rather than onto the cake as was intended. We like restaurants like that!)

I would say a decent dark rum, almost anything but Captain Morgan spiced rum really! Alternatively, I think a nice bourbon is lovely too.

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 12, 2005 at 11:54 AM

mmmm I love egg nog too :)

Posted by Alisa on December 12, 2005 at 2:21 PM

The problem I have is an allergy to nutmeg. Any suggestions for a substitution?

Posted by maryam on December 16, 2005 at 7:24 PM
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