Why make eggnog from scratch?
If your only eggnog experience begins and ends with a waxed cardboard carton that clutters up your holiday refrigerator, and if you didn’t care for it, embrace the caloric commitment and whip up a fresh batch for your festivities this year.
In days of old, eggnog was made from raw eggs and fresh cream as a tonic for the young, old, and infirm; farm folks in England (and the colonies) prepared large batches around midwinter’s day and through the New Year, providing a rich “noggin” of good cheer to passersby and tradesmen. Nowadays, prepared eggnog must be pasteurized for retail sale (which can give it a flat, cooked flavor) and often contains preservatives and stabilizers, as well as the omnipresent high fructose corn syrup.
So forget the storebought carton! Begin with the best quality, freshest eggs and milk you can find, and make the ’nog on the same day you’ll be serving (and finishing) it. If you do make the component parts ahead of time, store them in tightly-covered containers, as these fresh ingredients can absorb refrigerator odors in no time. Plan to serve your fresh eggnog in small, wide-mouth glasses or teacups, or let guests shake and pour their own. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top is the perfect holiday blessing.—Lisa Reeder
BOAR’S HEAD INN’S SECRET EGGNOG
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 qt. whipping cream, whipped.
1 qt. whole milk
1 cup Meyers Dark Rum (optional)
Whip sugar, eggs and milk together on high speed for 15 minutes. Over double boiler, heat mixture to 150 degrees, whisking constantly. Cool and add spices, rum (optional) and whipped cream. Whisk until well blended and foamy. Serve immediately. Serves 20.
Most bakers will swear by their Kitchen Aid mixer—but if the price tag makes you swear, consider the low cost, low input manual alternative. That’s right, the two beaters, single gear and sturdy handle of a manual handheld mixer can whip eggwhites for a meringue Pavlova shell, egg yolks for aioli and heavy cream for eggnog—and then disappear into a drawer until the next beating.
If you like the look of an antique model, make certain it is free from rust and off-odors, as dairy products take on flavor and aroma very easily. New models are available for $49 at The Happy Cook.—L.R.