Eggnog is something that I make for myself once a year. I’ve never tasted commercial eggnog, so I can only hope that what I churn out resembles something close to what it’s supposed to be. The beverage’s short list of ingredients reads like a prescription for a holiday heart attack: eggs, cream, whole milk, sugar, and one’s alcohol (usually rum or brandy) of choice. Still, there’s something so comforting about imbibing such richness, not to mention the spicy aroma given off by the commingling cinnamon and nutmeg.
There are countless recipes for eggnog which include lower-fat versions. Eggnog is also used as an ingredient in all sorts of cakes, ice cream, cookies, and even in lattes. I find it all so deliciously fascinating, frankly.
If I’m going to make something just once a year, I make sure to use only the best ingredients for it. I make a special trip to the store to buy a new carton of eggs and some imported cream. I wimp out however, and use low-fat and not full-fat fresh milk. I also use a few tablespoons of my vanilla sugar (white sugar in which I’ve steeped a vanilla bean), and of course plenty of my Indonesian cinnamon and nutmeg.
The recipe is simple: heat the milk and sugar to a simmer. Then add in the tempered eggs. Though I’ve done it successfully a number of times before, I had some trouble tempering the egg yolks and then stirring them into the hot liquid. I ended up with something akin to scrambled eggs on a bad day. My second attempt was better, so when the liquid had thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, I took it off the heat and added a ½ cup of cream and a pinch of salt, then put it back on the heat until the mixture simmered. While most recipes state that eggnog should be drank cold, I prefer it steaming hot. After ladling it into some cups, I sprinkled more than just a dash of nutmeg over the top of the eggnog and settled down to savor the liquid luxury.
“It tastes like really fine crÃ¨me brulee,” my Bin remarks thoughtfully, as he carefully spoons the eggnog into his mouth. Then a grimace crosses his face. “But there’s too much nutmeg, Lor.” He has always been very sensitive to the spice, preferring to omit it even in apple pie.
Not at all. Nutmeg is de rigueur in eggnog, and the drink is nothing without it. Sitting back at the breakfast table sipping my eggnog, I feel the rich taste of cream and eggs kissed by sugar warming my mouth and stomach. Ahhh. Maybe I should make eggnog twice a year…