Monday, December 05, 2005

Homemade Eggnog

I attended a dinner party this weekend, for which I had volunteered to make eggnog. Given time constraints, I was sorely tempted to pick up a carton of Nog from the grocery store and pass it off as my own. But pride and/or ethics got the best of me, and I went through the trouble of making it by hand.

And I was well rewarded.

Coincidentally, earlier this week Alton Brown had an eggnog show, so I used his cooked eggnog recipe.

Alton Brown's Eggnog:
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

I had forgotten the loveliness that is homemade eggnog. Carton eggnogs usually have some sort of artificial thickener, which is never quite right. And I imagine that their nutmeg flavor is from extract, not from freshly grated nutmegs. But the key ingredient that a glass of carton nog is missing is the frothy, foamy eggwhite. It's a completely different experience. Quite a few people commented on it.

I had made a double batch--one "Naughty", one "Nice". Only the naughty version had bourbon in it. Strangely enough, that one disappeared first. So I corrupted the remaining virginal eggnog with the gold rum that was on hand. (I am agnostic as to the proper liquor for eggnog, be it brandy, rum, or bourbon. All have their benefits. I quite liked the bourbon flavor, however.)

And as Safeway continues to have their 18ct eggs at 2-for-1 prices, I'll have to make more. Anything that doesn't get drunk can go right into the ice cream maker, too.


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