While I’m not one to turn on my outdoor Christmas lights until December 1st, I will confess that ‘eggnog season’ starts for me as soon as I see the first blooms on my Christmas cacti. Lucky for me, these low-maintenance plants began blooming in abundance in early November this year. Bring on the ‘nog! The tricky thing is that I’m the only one in my family who likes the stuff, so I have a dilemma: buy a bottle of the good stuff and over-indulge, or get a carton of the grocery store stuff, drink one glass, and let the rest spoil in the fridge. My solution? Making small batches of the good stuff so I can enjoy a glass or two periodically and not have the remainder winking at me beguilingly from the refrigerator.
Unlike some recipes for homemade eggnog which involve raw eggs, this version involves cooking egg yolks to make a delicious custard base. As a result, you can serve this eggnog to great-grandpa, pregnant cousin Sally or anyone’s adorable toddlers. Spiked or not (my preference is brandy though many folks swear by good quality rum), it’s a delicious treat that is ever so festive and really easy to make.
3 tbsp white sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
1/3 cup whipping (heavy/35%) cream
Dash vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (30 mL) brandy or rum to taste *
* can omit entirely or substitute with a dash of brandy or rum flavoured baking extract
Place sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk together for about 2 minutes.
Place milk, nutmeg and salt in a small saucepan. Over medium-low heat, warm the mixture until it is steaming but not boiling, stirring frequently.
Slowly pour half the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously as you do so. This will temper or warm the eggs so they don’t cook too quickly and get lumpy.
Add the second half of the milk in the same fashion.
Return the mixture back to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, heat it for 2 – 3 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. If you like to cook with a thermometer, as I do, it is ready when it reaches 160 F.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in the cream and vanilla. If you notice any lumps, strain the mixture as you pour it into a clean jar with a tight lid.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
When ready to serve, add the rum, brandy or rum extract to the jar and shake well. Pour into two cocktail glasses.
Makes 12 ounces / 360 mL or enough for two drinks.