I'm so pleased with results of the cooked eggnog I wrote for the last post, I wanted to give an official tested recipe. Don't misunderstand me. I'm a fan of raw egg eggnog, as well as aged-for-two-years raw eggnog. I don't believe anyone should be afraid of eating raw egg (especially if you buy organic or well-raised eggs). Raw yolk on raw ground beef is a delight, a kind of ready made sauce. I love a homemade mayo, a runny poached egg. Indeed, raw or warm egg is one of the great pleasures of cooking and eating. So here's to lots of eggs in 2010—may more of them be laid by healthy happy chickens!
But there are those who may be concerned or have reason not to take any chances. There are also those who may simply love the richness of the cooked egg and the clean flavor the vanilla bean gives it (I also love the creaminess of the meringue—remarkable how sweet and smooth protein can be!). And there are still others who make cooked eggnog because, my favorite reason of all, they simply love to cook.
This eggnog uses the same technique used to make vanilla sauce and almost the same ingredients. The following is a delicious rich beverage, with alcohol or without. In fact, you could omit the additional milk and freeze it into eggnog iced cream and it would be fabulous (a word I intend to keep using well into the New Year). Scale this recipe up and down as much as you like by weighing the yolks, using an equal weight of sugar and six times that amount of milk/cream (in other words, a 6: 1 : 1 ratio of liquid : yolk : sugar—I'll have to add this to my own notes in the new iPhone ratio app!). If you're truly concerned about salmonella, then skip the frothy egg white (use whipped cream if you wish instead).
And one more worthy 2010 resolution (aside from general belly reduction; I actually have to get serious about this this year), a resolution I'd love to hear from more people: resolve to make more dishes from scratch, whether it's chicken soup from a picked clean chicken carcass, your own BLT, macaroni and cheese, your own corned beef, pastrami short ribs, a chocolate cake, mozzarella cheese or a hard cheddar—whatever your skill level or desires, whatever you feel comfortable with (be it a simple popover or elaborate puff pastry)—make your own food, it's good for the body and good for the soul.
All best wishes to all for a healthy productive 2010 with lots of wonderful food and all the things that come from making it and sharing it (which covers just about everything).
Fabulous Cooked Eggnog
1 cup of cream
1-½ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
nutmeg as needed
4 eggs, separated (reserve two whites for another use; they freeze great)
2 ounces sugar (¼ cup), plus 2 tablespoons for the meringue if you're making that
12 ounces (or as much as tastes good!) rum, brandy, or bourbon
Combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk and vanilla bean in a pot, bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. Add plenty of nutmeg shavings. Let the bean steep for 10 minutes, then removed the pod, scrape the inner beans out of the pod and return them to the milk
Combine the yolks and the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisking the yolks continuously, add the milk and cream.
Set a bowl big enough to contain the yolk-cream mixture in a larger bowl filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water. Put a strainer in this bowl.
Return the yolk-cream mixture to the pot and stir it with a flat-edged spoon or heat-proof spatula over medium heat until the mixture thickens, a few minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon (you can take it as high as 165 degrees F./75 degrees C. if you want to measure). Poor it through the strainer into the bowl set in ice. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine and fully cool the mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Optional: make a meringue by whipping 2 egg whites till frothy, then adding tablespoons of sugar and whipping to very soft peaks (it's best to do this shortly before serving for the best consistency).
Combine 4 ounces of eggnog with 2 ounces of rum, brandy, or bourbon; add more nutmeg to taste, then add ice, top with meringue as desired and more gratings of nutmeg.
This recipe should give you about 20 ounces of eggnog.