Monday, December 28, 2009

Grand Mal Eggnog

Summary: 'Tis the season for indulgence, and here is the fruit of our research - our seventh annual Eggnog. Starting with two quarts of heavy cream and a dozen eggs its one of the richest, most luxurious things we've every had in our mouths. Requiring several hours to prepare, I can guarantee that your guests will be impressed.

Rest of Post:  I love eggnog, even the commercial stuff.  Around Thanksgiving I start checking in at Peet's to see if they have started serving their Eggnog Lattes.  Another chain of coffee shops makes them too, but they use a much poorer brand of eggnog and aren't worth drinking.

One winter's days in 2002 when I was paging through the "Joy of Cooking"  - looking for something - I saw their eggnog recipe - eggnog in bulk.  How bad could homemade eggnog be?

Of course the Joy of Cooking recipe makes over a gallon, so I made it for our next party.  It was a smash. It was thick and rich, it had a two inch layer of soft rich almost chewy foam on top, and it was addictively good.  Recognizing it as an A1 Coronary Clogger, we immediately made this into a "once a year" event, and each year around Halloween we'd start talking about which party we would throw, or to which party we would bring it.

Our eggnog recipe, prowess, and dare I say, reputation grew year by year.  In 2007 I made a chance discovery.  My mother, who lives in Kennebunk, Maine, is a devoted reader of the New York Times.  While we were visiting for Christmas, I picked up that day's paper that had a reprint of Craig Claiborne's 1958 recipe for Eggnog.  1958 was a very good year (the year of my birth, of course), and having grown up reading the Times I assumed Craig's recipe was to be counted on.  So last year we made it.

This made an eggnog so light it was like eating a cloud, so firm you could only eat it with a spoon.  The Claiborne recipe is very similar to the Joy Of Cooking Recipe, almost identical ingredients, different procedure. 

However, Craig's recipe called for only two cups of booze - only one cup of Cognac and one cup of Bourbon.  This came through far stronger than the six cups of booze (rum, brandy, bourbon, peach brandy) I normally used.  People complained how strong Craig's eggnog was!

So this year we went back to using my recipe with Craig's method.

And The Research Team said this year was the best, ever!

So, here we go!
  • Separate one dozen eggs  [I get the largest ones I can find]
  • Beat the egg yolks while slowly adding 1 pound confectioners sugar [I used turbinado sugar]

  • While beating, add very slowly 
Four Cups of Strong Liquor and One cup Peach Brandy

Here's what was in my liquor cabinet
  • One cup Lemon Hart Demerara Rum, 
  • One cup Maker's Mark Bourbon, 
  • One cup Brandy
  • One cup Whalers Rum
  • One cup Peach Brandy
  • Refrigerate (covered) for at least one hour - this diminishes the 'eggy' taste
  • Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the egg whites, beat until stiff
  • Whip 2 quarts of heavy cream until stiff
  • Fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture
  • Fold in the egg whites 
  • Grate nutmeg over the eggnog
  • Chill for an hour

Serve from a punchbowl, garnish with fresh nutmeg.

Adding the (sweet) peach brandy seems to take the hard alcoholic edge off the eggnog.  With 5 cups of liquid (booze) added, the eggnog is a thick slurry, yet it doesn't separate* If you want eggnog that is really pour-able, you could add either add one or more cups of booze, or a cup or more of milk.  Less booze and it gets fluffier and lighter.  Next year I might replace two cups of the dark rum with one cup of Goslings 151 - same strength, but I expect the result will be a bit drier and lighter.

Most importantly of all, enjoy your loved ones, your health, and your holidays.

 Merry Christmas!
Happy New Years

On a related topic, A Dash of Bitters had a post about Aging Eggnog linking to a quick study at the Rockefeller Institute did - on salmonella in eggnog - they found that after deliberately adding salmonella to their eggnog, the alcohol killed it sometime after between one and three weeks of aging in the refrigerator.

Next year we'll try aging a batch.

* it didn't separate for 5 days


Marci said...

Your eggnog looks wonderful! I've been sold on Alton Brown's, but now I want to try this one.

Stephanie Stiavetti said...

Oh man, this looks intense! said...

this look lovely

Batty said...

Question: in step two there, what exactly are you beating? Yolks, whites, both? Later steps make it appear that the yolks and whites had been beaten separately.

Alchemist George said...

Batty, thanks for your question. I rewrote the instructions above to make it clear - that step is beating the yolks with sugar - you whip the egg whites in a separate step later.

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