Eggnog may not be a dieter’s delight, but to me it signals the good will, cheer and indulgence of the holiday season. It also happens to be pretty darned delicious. My version, which I’ve been making for years, is classic: I cook milk, eggs and sugar together as a custard, then enrich it with some real cream and fortify it with some good bourbon or dark rum. Aside from the spirits, a key element here is the nutmeg – I strongly recommend you use freshly grated, as it will make a big difference in flavor. You can easily double or halve the recipe to suit your needs, and the eggnog will hold nicely in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. And speaking of good cheer, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday, and say thanks for supporting Pastry at Home. Let’s hope next year’s a great one for all of us (or a better one, at the very least)!
Makes about 6 cups (1.4 liters), or 6 servings
- 4 cups (966 grams) whole milk, divided
- 5 large (93 grams) egg yolks
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (232 grams) heavy cream
- 3/4 to 1 cup (180 to 240 grams) bourbon or dark rum (I use 1 cup of either Maker’s Mark Bourbon or Mount Gay Rum)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Sweetened whipped cream
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups (483 grams) of the milk until scalding. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and pale and thick. Slowly whisk about 1 cup (242 grams) of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Return this to the milk in the pan, whisking to blend. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the custard is thickened and reaches 185°F (85˚C) on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the cream.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and place the custard in an ice bath until slightly chilled. Stir in the remaining 2 cups (483 grams) milk, the bourbon or rum, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour the eggnog into a large bowl or pitcher, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until well chilled (this also gives the eggnog time to mature and mellow). Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.