Old-Fashioned Eggnog

This is a great recipe from a terrific cookbook that is one of my all-time favorites: “The Pastry Queen Christmas” from Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman. I really recommend it for more than just Holiday cooking.

Old-Fashioned Eggnog

Classic eggnog is not easy to make, but it is sure to dazzle your guests. This version is cooked, to kill any bacteria in the eggs. And it can be made mostly in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Just before the guests arrive, whip the cream, fold it into the eggnog, and serve with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. One taste of this, and you’ll happily give up the grocery-store eggnog for good.

Yield: Six 1-cup servings

3 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup Myer’s dark rum
1/2 cup whiskey (preferably Crown Royal) or bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus more fro garnish

In a large saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups of the cream over medium-low heat until it begins to steam but not boil. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt. Using a heat-proof measuring cup, measure out 1 cup of the hot cream. Gradually pour it into the egg mixture to temper, whisking constantly. In a slow, steady stream, pour the egg -cream mixture back into the saucepan with the hot cream. Continue to cook, whisking constantly over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl and let stand until cool, at least 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Stir in the rum, whiskey (or bourbon), vanilla, and the 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Finish preparing, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To serve, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the remaining 1 cup cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the eggnog mixture. Transfer the eggnog to a pitcher and serve immediately. Top each serving with a sprinkling of fresh nutmeg.

TIP: The difference between freshly grated nutmeg and the finely ground stuff you find on the spice rack is enormous. Fresh nutmegs are available in the whole-spice section of most grocery stores. Grating the hand, round spice is much easier with gadgets made especially for grating nutmeg. Microplane and Zyliss make good ones.

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