In roughly three weeks from now we will be celebrating our second Christmas in England and so far this December has been much smoother than the last one. A year ago I was completely lost. As Christmas season was approaching I felt nothing but anxiety over where to do my Christmas shopping, how to stock up on seasonal goodies and keep them in a tiny London flat with no storage, and lastly I grieved the absence of Canadian holiday fare. Especially the last one. Once again December is upon us and things are quite cheery in my household. I personally credit mental preparation and my mad eggnog making skills to such success.
First of all, do you know that English grocery stores do not sell cartons of eggnog? Are you as appalled as I was a year ago? Do you share my love for eggnog? If you do you will understand what an important ingredient it is to the holiday cheer! You will also understand how crucial it is to have a great eggnog recipe. I’ve tried a few last year and made some pretty incredible drinks. Alas, they didn’t quite taste like the eggnog we were all craving. My morning coffee was downright unconsolable.
Yesterday I threw all caution to the wind, which is my custom to do and created my own recipe. The results were…well let’s just say as soon as I finished making it I left the house in a sprint to purchase a bottle of brandy because the taste was just perfect!
What I discovered is that the key to success is the right blend of spices and that’s very personal. The milk and the eggs are just the carriers of the taste-rich and delicious carriers.
whole milk-2 cups/500ml
half and half/single cream-2 cups/500ml
mixed spice( a blend of cassia, coriander seed, caraway, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)-1tsp.
Pour 2 cups of whole milk in the heavy bottomed sauce pan, slit open your vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk, along with the cinnamon stick and the rest of the spices. Heat the milk over a low heat until the milk is hot and steamy and about to boil. You don’t want the milk heating process to happen quickly because the milk needs time to soak up all the wonderful flavours.
While the milk is getting infused, separate your egg yolks from the egg whites and reserve the egg whites for a different use or freeze them. Whip your egg yolks with sugar in a medium sized bowl until the mixture is much paler in colour and doubled in volume. When your milk is ready take it off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
The next step is a little bit tricky. Our main goal here is to “cook” the eggs so they are safe to eat but not to end up with a batch of milky scrambled eggs- trust me it’s very easy to do and happens QUICKLY!
With your mixer still running slowly add half of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, blend well. Tempering should prevent the eggs from curdling in the next step. Then empty the contents into the saucepan with milk and heat through while whisking continuously on low heat. It took mine 2 minutes. Take off the heat, strain through a fine sieve to ensure eggnog is smooth and silky, add single cream to it and chill until cold.
Enjoy with a dash of brandy or skip it if you prefer the non-alcoholic taste. My absolute favourite way to drink eggnog is in my morning coffee. Nothing can be more satisfying on a cold winter morning than sipping a cup of eggnog latte while watching your littles lazily eating breakfast by the light of the Christmas tree. Merry Christmas!!