I’ve been looking forward to bringing you this recipe because this sweet, silky eggnog is probably one of the most delicious things you will make this Christmas. Last Christmas Dan’s family came to ours, arriving in time for dinner on Christmas Eve. Looking back, I can’t remember what I cooked for the main course and I have no idea whether I even did a starter… but I do know that for dessert we had eggnog.
I didn’t serve dessert immediately after dinner. First we cleared the table, loaded the dishwasher, and lit the fire. Then whilst the grandparents and children got the games out, I snuck back into the kitchen to create this masterpiece. And a masterpiece it is. Not by looks – to be fair it doesn’t look particularly exciting. But WOW – it is TOTALLY delicious. One sip and I promise, you and your guests will be hooked.
When I first thought about posting this recipe I did a quick Google search. Initially I thought that eggnog originated in America, but it seems that we Brits took the recipe over with us when we first explored the new land. The reason it took off so well over there is that there was plenty of land to farm and thus plenty of milk and eggs.
I also learnt that American eggnog is practically always served cold. Now, I don’t know how I missed this but I’ve never heard of this before. In my opinion, serving eggnog cold presents two major problems. Firstly, you have to have the fridge space to chill a reasonably large quantity of liquid – not necessarily easy at Christmas. The second is that you have to wait for it to cool and chill. That would take a lot of will power. And I mean a lot. So let’s stick to warm eggnog shall we?
My eggnog recipe is quicker than many as it does not call for whipped egg whites to be folded into it which I think is a plus. Who wants to spend Christmas in the kitchen? All you need to do is heat the milk and spices, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, incorporate the two, heat gently until slightly thickened and spike with whatever you fancy. It’s not dissimilar to a real egg custard, but with the inclusion of spices and a good swig of something warming. To be honest it is gorgeous without the addition of any alcohol so drivers need not despair, but a splash of brandy, rum, madeira or anything else you may have knocking around does take it up a level. You could even try Baileys if you wish, but go carefully if you don’t have a sweet tooth as this could take it over the edge.
I like to serve this from a jug, with a bottle of brandy at the side. That way people can choose to go alcohol free or not. Put it in front of the fire and let people help themselves. Just make sure that you have extra eggs and milk in in case of the need to whip up another batch when this one runs out. It really is that good.
- 1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk
- 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
- a few good gratings of nutmeg
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 90 g (½ cup) granulated sugar
- Pour the milk into a large pan. Add the spices and vanilla and heat gently until steam is just beginning to rise from the surface. Remove from the heat and remove the cloves from the milk.
- Whilst the milk is heating whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until lightened in colour.
- Very slowly pour the hot milk over the egg yolks, whisking all the time, then pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until steam rises from the surface and the eggnog very thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Serve with the brandy, rum or simply on its own.