I just want to say that you will thank me for the recipe below. You are very welcome.
I love Christmas. It is meant to be a fun and treasured time of life. I’m not particularly religious, but I can be ecumenically spiritual as the dark nights are filled snow.
When I, a lapsed Catholic, married Suzen, a very moderately observant Jew, we had to reach some compromises. I was happy to call that first tree a Winter Solstice Tree. And, too, for that first tree, I wanted to introduce some humor. As we dragged the tree into the house, I told Suzen to get the vacuum cleaner because you always clean the tree before putting it up. Dutifully, she went to the closet, plugged the machine in, and approached the tree.
My son was there, home from college. “Dad, your first marriage failed. Try not to screw this one up.” He went to Suzen and whispered in her ear. The vacuum was turned off. Suzen gave me a glare. Suzen and my son bonded for life. I’m still trying to connect.
At least I wanted some humor. Unlike the dreaded Christmas Grinches. They are everywhere. And the worst ones, the very greenest ones, are despicable Eggnog Grinches. You’ve read or seen them. “Oh, it’s so bad for you,” they begin. “All those calories!”
It’s the holidays for Christ’s sake. No pun intended.
There was actually an article in The New York Times last week about faux eggnogs. “Healthy” ones. One participating bartender said that eggs were not necessarily. I burned that section of The Times.
No, eggnog is not as healthy as tap water. But you drink it modestly and generally only during that time from Thanksgiving to New Years.
Not surprisingly, eggnog has a great history and total variety in how it is made. It’s a dairy-based beverage with milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs and some kind of liquor. The ingredients can vary and the assembly variations are endless. You always beat the yolk and stiffen some kind of sugar, but some recipes also call for beating the whites separately and folding them in. The cream, or the egg white, is added to thicken the beverage which traditionally is meant to leave some lasting trace on your upper lip. Brandy, rum, or whiskey can be the liquor.
The beverage originated in England. The “nog” in the name probably stems from “noggin,” a small wooden mug used for alcoholic beverages. There was, Wikipedia suggests, a tradition in England of having liquor in the milk all year round because there were very few refrigerators in London in, say, 1700.
I found this recipe by serendipity. For Thanksgiving, I suggested a wonderful Pumpkin Chiffon Cake. It’s an asymmetrical recipe: 8 egg whites and 5 yolks. I had three yolks left over. What do you do then? You google “egg yolk recipes” and you find recipeland.com with 83 pages of egg yolk recipes. I started on page 1. I stopped on page 3. There I found this recipe there for Grandma’s Swinging Eggnog. This recipe is incredible. Make this and you will never, never ever buy eggnog in the dairy section again. This is a “crossing the Rubicon” experience.
I have adjusted the recipe three ways, so I’m sharing my name on it. First, I have doubled the amount of sugar mixed with the egg yolks. I like the additional sweetness and the additional thickness it provides.
Second, instead of using light rum, I used a dark Caribbean rum, one with lots of spicy overtones — which is wise because this recipe itself does not call for dusting with any spices. If you have a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum hidden on that back shelf and you never figured out what to do with it, now you have a positive solution.
And third, when the cream is being whipped, I suggest adding powdered sugar — powdered so that there is no trace of graininess in the whipped cream.
Most recipes for eggnog suggest using a cocktail shaker. Here you need a bowl and a whisk. This drink is made by folding or gently whisking in the whipped cream.
I hope you enjoy every sip.
Brian and Grandma’s Swinging Eggnog
Yield: 8 breads
Timing: 6+ drinks
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups cold milk
- 2 cups dark, spicy rum
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
Beat the egg yolks until light with a whisk. Continue whisking and slowly add the granulated sugar. Whisk until the mixture is stiffening. If you taste test, there may be some graininess still evident from all that sugar. That will go away with the additional liquids to come.
Add the milk and rum. Mix well, then chill for at least 3 hours.
One hour before serving, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Beat in the powder sugar. Gently fold or whisk the whipped cream into the chilled egg-milk-rum mixture. The goal here is to get a good mix of cream and chilled liquid. You don’t want to deflate the whipped cream. You will end up with a thick consistency with some globs of whipping cream suspended. That’s fine.
Refrigerate for one hour. Then serve.
Source: Brian O’Rourke and recipeland.com