Not an Eggnog fan? Making it fresh will change your mind. Commercial versions have almost ruined its reputation - they're all pasteurized (cooked), too sweet, and full of artificial thickening agents. Yuck. Do it right, and learn why people liked eggnog in the first place! Here are testimonials from newly-reformed anti-eggnoggers:
"I thought eggnog was gross, but this stuff rocks!" - scoochmaroo
"Wow. Can I have some more?" - rachel
This is eggnog in its pure form - fresh eggs, cream, and a bit of sugar and seasoning. It's excellent as-is, but can be spiked with rum, brandy, or bourbon to ward off the winter chill. I prefer the non-alcoholic version, as it allows the subtle flavors to really shine.
- Don't substitute low-fat dairy - this is a holiday extravagance, so live it up. Serve in small glasses if you're worried about the calories, and go for an extra jog.
- Yes, we're using raw eggs. If you want to be paranoid, wash the shells before cracking the eggs; there's only a 1:20,000 chance of salmonella inside the egg. But you probably still shouldn't drink raw eggnog if you're immunocompromised. If you've ever eaten raw cookie dough, quit worrying and try the eggnog!
Step 1: Tools and Ingredients
6 eggs at room temperature, separated
3/4 cup sugar (for the yolks)
6 Tablespoons sugar (for the whites)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (use the good stuff, and/or make your own)
fresh grated nutmeg
3 cups whipping cream, chilled
2 cups whole milk
1 cup brandy or rum
1 1/3 cups bourbon
large bowl (~ gallon-sized)
mixer (hand or stand type - just so long as it's motorized!)
small punch cups, margarita glasses, teacups, wine glasses, or other fancy-looking festive vessels
For single-serving size (one egg), divide everything else by 6. That means:
2 Tablespoons sugar (for the yolk)
1 Tablespoon sugar (for the white)
a drop of vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
Step 2: Separate Eggs
Separate the eggs.
Put the yolks in your big bowl, the whites in the electric mixer bowl*.
* Make sure the bowl is clean and dry, with no oil residue - grease of any sort can interfere with proper egg white whipping.
Step 3: Prep Yolks
Mix the yolks vigorously with the wire whisk for about a minute - they will turn much lighter yellow.
Whisk in 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, whisking steadily. Grate* in a bit of nutmeg** (gently - you can always add more later, and fresh nutmeg can be powerful), then add 3 cups cream and 2 cups milk (and the booze, if you're using it) and whisk a bit more. Everything should be thoroughly incorporated.
* I grate nutmeg with a Microplane grater - it's excellent.
** Use whole nutmeg, not the pre-ground. This is the primary flavoring in your eggnog, so it should be the good stuff. Whole nutmegs can be bought in the spice section at your local grocery, and they last far longer than ground nutmeg.
Step 4: Prep Egg Whites
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks - this is exactly why we have robots in the kitchen. (It will take ~3-5 minutes, even longer if you're crazy enough to try whisking it by hand.)
Add 6T sugar, one tablespoon at a time, as the mixer runs. Continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks, but still looks moist (another 2-4 minutes). See the last picture to see how stiff the mixture is as I scoop it out of the mixing bowl.
Step 5: Combine
Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/cream mixture with a spatula.
Scrape the egg whites out of the bowl with your rubber spatula, and use a gentle sweeping motion to incorporate the whites to save all the air you just beat into them. (If you whisk them in all of that nice fluffiness will be lost.) You should still have some small blobs of unincorporated eggwhite (see last picture), and if the mixture is allowed to sit it will separate.
Step 6: Serve
Ladle out the eggnog into your fancy cups, and top with a bit more freshly grated nutmeg.
If the eggnog has separated, give it a quick (gentle!) stir before serving. Don't let the eggnog sit out too long - even if it does have alcohol, refrigerate to avoid spoilage. I've never had this problem: we always drink it so fast there's nothing left to worry about! Thankfully it's fast to make more, because you'll never be able to drink the commercial stuff again.
Happy Holidays, and enjoy your eggnog!