On the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven swans a'swimming (in eggnog)
That was the best I could do making the whipped cream look like swans. Oh well. On to better things...
Today is eggnog. If you have never made your own homemade eggnog you will never ever ever go back to store bought. You basically get to spice it the way you like, make it as sweet as you like it and as thick and fluffy as you like it too. Our recipe is heavy on the nutmeg and heavy on the fluff, which may (or may not) include an over-the-top addition of French vanilla ice cream. (It's up to you.)
SPECIAL INGREDIENTS AND TECHNIQUES
This is an uncooked eggnog. So you want to make sure your eggs are clean and fresh. If you're lucky this time of year to get fresh eggs from your winter farmers market or a local farm, that's best. We use jaggery sugar which is a minimally refined cane sugar from India that gives desserts a full, rounded sweet taste that's ever so slightly earthy. It makes a difference to us, but you can use any sugar you like. We use a food processor and an electric hand mixer to whip up the yolks, cream and whites, and a microplane grater for the nutmeg. Whole nutmeg is the only way to go with this. You can grind it or grate it, but please use whole nutmeg. It taste so much better than pre-ground.
Makes about 20 small cups
You'll either love us for this or hate us for this.
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups jaggery sugar, or other sugar
6 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups milk (we use whole)
2 whole nutmeg seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Rum or other alcohol (optional, we don't add it but you can)
1 pint French vanilla ice cream OR 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Separate the eggs and put the yolks into the bowl of a food processor. Reserve the whites in a covered glass bowl and refrigerate.
Add the sugar to the yolks in the processor and pulse 10 or so times until a little fluffy. Then, while pulsing, slowly pour in 4 cups of the cream. Keep pulsing just enough to ever-so-slightly whip the cream. You do not want to fully whip the cream—you are aerating it, creating a delightful froth, a little lift. The mixture may increase in volume a third or so.
Pour the mixture into a medium-large pot with a lid. Gently stir in the remaining 2 cups of cream and the milk. Grate in one whole nutmeg and mix in the salt.
*Alcohol: Now is the time to add any rum or other spirits if you want the whole batch to be alcoholic. We don't do this so I can't give you any good recommendations on what or how much. That's up to you!
Now cover it let it sit for several hours. At least three. Better yet, overnight. You need to do this to allow the eggs to settle and the spice to infuse.
At least an hour or so before serving, and preferably up to several hours beforehand, beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until thick and fluffy... just before a soft peak form. Fold the whites into the nog and grate another half of a nutmeg into the nog.
If you're opting in for French vanilla ice cream, scoop it into the nog—you don't need to mix it, just let it float—and refrigerate again until ready to serve. Add the vanilla extract if you're not doing ice cream.
When ready to serve, gently mix the eggnog and pour into small cups, making sure each cup has some frothy goodness at the top. Always grate with fresh nutmeg. Serve chilled.