Saturday, December 12, 2009

Perfect Eggnog


In those dark days long ago, when I was still afraid of the kitchen, I avoided eggnog like the plague because it always seemed to come from a paper carton at the supermarket and tasted like... well... like you would need a whole lotta Bourbon to soften the blow. As you can imagine, that type of thing couldn't go on, so I got out there and tried a few recipes, and there emerged something so divine, so transcendent, so smooth and creamy and I've-died-and-gone-to-heaven good, that I look forward to the holidays every year just so I have a chance to make this eggnog again. Don't get me wrong - I *really* love getting together with my family, eating, laughing and exchanging presents; but in the back of my mind - in the very back, where chocolate and creme brulee and tarte tatins dwell, the thought of this eggnog gives me a warm glow until the time when I can rush to the stove and stir and stir and pour and then drink (ahhhh) and then I get a warm glow of an entirely different kind.


Happy Hanukah to my Jewish peeps! May the light and miracles of this holiday shine in your heart and in your family the whole year.


Perfect Eggnog
Williams-Sonoma recipe
(serves 6-8 small cups)

Note: Because everyone prefers a different bite to their eggnog (and some, like me, drink it without alcohol - I know, the shame!), I like to pour the eggnog into small cups and let each guest add his or her own choice of spirits. You can do this, or you can just mix in about a cup full of rum, brandy or Bourbon before serving.

2 cups of milk, divided
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar

1 cup cold whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg

Brandy, Bourbon, dark rum

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sugar. Simmer on low for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened. If it's not thickening, turn up the heat a little, stirring constantly so as not to cook the eggs. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining cup of milk and let cool. Pass cooled mixture through a fine-mesh sieve (to get rid of any errant cooked egg yolks) - this is a very important step!

Whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract to soft peaks.

If desired, stir in 1 cup of brandy, Bourbon or dark rum right before serving. Serve in small cups with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Can be served very cold, but it's also really good when it's just slightly warm.


Anonymous said...

Oh yum. I love eggnog. I've never made it because it seems complicated. But this sounds so simple. Can't wait to try it!

Deana Sidney said...

Beautiful photo... and I love your blog title! I can't wait to make a return visit and check out your archives!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Irene! You'll never guess what I'm doing?!

I'm taking a bread baking class from none other than Peter Reinhart! I'm so excited! A lot of my friends just look at me weird when I tell them that, but I know you'll be excited for me!

Amy J

Dewi said...

I heard so much of this eggnog, still haven't tried it though. maybe one day I'll be brave enough.

Irene said...

Amy!! You lucky girl!!! I *am* so excited for you! Please come back and tell me about it, I can't wait to hear everything. OOOH!

Sonia said...

Hi Irene, Happy Hanukah!
Well, thanks for this recipe. Your pics are so good...and I love your serving dish. :)
I am gonna to try this soon. :)

pam said...

Silly me. I didn't even know you could make homemade eggnog.

El said...

I'm in full agreement on the stuff out of the carton. There's nothing like homemade eggnog. Can't wait to try your recipe!

♥peachkins♥ said...

I wanna make some eggnog eventhough its not a common drink here..

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Williams Sonoma is just a source of so many good things. It just would not be Christmas or the holidays without eggnog!!!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

So festive to drink Eggnog. I've never made it myself but like the taste. Puts me in the spirit of the Holidays.

Małgoś said...

Beautiful blog! I'm very impressed. :)
Irene, thank You for Your visit on 'Pieprz czy wanialia'. :)

NuJoi said...

Thank you!!!! I've never made egg nog, because it seems like each batch serves 75. This is a much more manageable size.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Homemade eggnog is the greatest stuff ever! I can't wait to give this recipe a try. Yum!

Miss said...

Your baking and photography really inspire me and the compliment means a lot :D
Thank you!

Irene said...

Ahh, thank you! That is so very nice of you to say!

The Caked Crusader said...

Oh yum! What beautiful presentation too!

Simones Kitchen said...

That looks totally delicious and I have to confess I never have had eggnogg. It's not a drink that is served here but I am so gonna try this recipe out this season!

Unknown said...

Irene, Thanks for the beautiful recipe. I might make it for our annual Christ-ma-kah celebration with friends. Happy Hanukkah!

Rambling Tart said...

I am adding this to my MUST do list this week! How lovely and cozy :-)

Barbara said...

Love eggnog. A close second is Milk Punch-which is easier to make, which is why I serve it on Christmas Day.
Williams Sonoma has always had excellent recipes and their eggnog is worth trying this year.

Domestic Feminist said...

Oh my goodness yes. I will be making this pronto...really appreciate the nonalcoholic recipe, by the way, the kids in my life like eggnog too and will be pleased to be allowed some!

veron said...

Oh yes, time for that egg nog! This chilly winter nights are calling for it big time!

armoire said...

I love eggnog! But I always make it as simple as I can. It might become a disaster if I make it so extravagant!

The Food Librarian said...

Just lovely!!