My new book, The DIY Pantry, is due on bookshelves in just a few days, so this week I'm publishing a few recipes from the book here on the blog, merely because I can't contain my excitement! Today it's Old-Fashioned Eggnog's turn in the spotlight.
Eggnog is undeniably one of my favorite beverages during the Christmas season, especially at New Year's. Eggnog is one of winter’s delights and since the Middle Ages has served as a toast to prosperity and good health.
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I eagerly and lovingly whisk a double batch in a big bowl each year, just because it's like drinking ice cream that's silky and sensuous and everyone always wants seconds.
And I must admit that I can't bring myself to buy it anymore. Even though we could easily drink eggnog every day during the holiday season, ever since I discovered the long list of undesirable ingredients in most store-bought brands (and since I took my first creamy sip of classic, old-fashioned eggnog), I simply make a point to make this homemade version once or twice every year and we savor it heartily.
Plus, on the years when we can get them, it helps us drink more raw milk and eat more raw egg yolks – and that's always a good thing. (If you can't eat raw egg yolks, fear not – there are directions for a cooked homemade eggnog below too.)
A Word About Raw Egg Yolks
And I *must* do my due diligence and remind everyone that whenever you're eating raw egg yolks, it is imperative that they are as absolutely as fresh as possible and that they are from pastured hens. If you can't find absolutely fresh eggs, make the cooked eggnog recipe below.
This isn't just a nutritional thing, as we discuss regularly here, but this is for your safety. While raw egg yolks contain a gorgeous amount of potent vitamins and minerals, conventional eggs typically sit for several weeks before they find their way into your shopping basket, so while they might be fine for your breakfast scramble, more often than not, they won't be fine for raw consumption.
“So how do I find fresh eggs?” you ask.
Well, start by searching on Craigslist for people who have chickens in their backyards or small farms in your area that sell direct to consumer.
You can also check at your local health food store for local farm fresh eggs. If need be, call the farm and ask what their typical timeline is for getting eggs to the store and ask the store how long eggs typically sit in the back.
But after all that, just sit back and enjoy this scrumptious, delicious, absolutely delightful, old-fashioned eggnog.
Here's to a healthy, blessed new year!
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 9 egg yolks, as fresh as possible
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- lots and lots of fresh ground nutmeg (I typically grate in at least 1/2 teaspoon, usually more)
How to Make Traditional Homemade Eggnog
- Place all ingredients in a blender or a large bowl. Blend or whisk until very smooth and a bit frothy.
- Set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight to chill thoroughly and allow flavors to blend.
- Serve chilled. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
How to Make Cooked Homemade Eggnog
- Whisk together the egg yolks and the milk (but not the cream) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan if you have one.
- Cook the mixture very gently over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 160°F, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle AND so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. This is very important (and requires both patience and a strong arm). Remember: the eggs need to be cooked to 160°F to be safe, but they curdle at 170°F, so whisking is essential.
If the eggs do curdle, it's not the end of the world: simply press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before chilling. It won't be silky-smooth, but it will be sufficiently close.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell the mixture has come to temperature when the mixture thickly coats the back of metal spoon and retains its shape when you drag your finger through the mixture on the spoon without filling in the gap.
- When the egg mixture has reached 160°F, remove from the heat and chill the mixture completely. Pour in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving to allow flavors to mingle.
- Serve chilled. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Conventional, store-bought eggs absolutely should not be consumed raw, especially if you are pregnant or dealing with illness. If you are going to consume raw eggs, be sure to use only very fresh eggs from chickens that were raised on pasture.
If you are uncomfortable eating raw egg yolks or don’t have access to farm fresh eggs, simply use the cooked version of the recipe.