Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Can it be that another year has already whizzed past? It's been a busy year. Between baking, homeschooling, vacationing, hosting cooking camps, and watching my granddaughter grow up, I haven't been posting nearly as much as I would've liked to. I'm not making a resolution of it, but I will try to be a bit more consistent in the coming year.

So here's a toast to the year gone by and the one yet to come. May the joy increase, the inevitable pains be productive, the lessons be learned quickly, and the calories not count.

I'm toasting with a glass of the best eggnog I've ever had. I've never been a big fan of egg nog. My family always got excited when the cartons showed up in the grocery store and I would buy it for them. But the gloopy texture and the odd taste didn't please my palate, so I'd pass.

But this fall a friend told me about his family's tradition of making eggnog. More specifically, Gramma made the egg nog. A gallon at a time. Every Christmas. Even on vacation.

He related how one Christmas the extended family was on vacation together in Mexico and it just wouldn't be Christmas without Gramma's eggnog. So they hiked into to town to buy the supplies for a gallon of eggnog. After hiking back with their burdens, Gramma put together the splendid libation, and they took turns stirring it for the 40-50 minutes needed to thicken it. Then it needed to sit in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors meld. Having nothing else on hand, she poured the eggnog back into the plastic jugs that had held the milk.

The next morning, arriving back after some frolic time, they were appalled that the jugs were empty and in the garbage can. The cleaning crew told them they'd thrown the milk away since it had obviously gone bad. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Back to town. More supplies. More stirring. Then after more chilling, the cleaners held at bay, Christmas was back on. There was eggnog at last!

If the eggnog was worth that kind of perseverance, I just had to try. And, yes, it's worth it. Light, delicious, frothy, and not overly sweet. One small glass is never enough. I've become an eggnog fan!

You could make the recipe as written, but then you'll probably kick yourself and say, "Why didn't I make more??" If you want a whole gallon, multiply the recipe by 4.

I used raw, whole milk and farm fresh eggs from healthy chickens. If you are uneasy about using raw egg whites, you can substitute powdered egg whites for that. And if you are not comfortable pouring rum into your eggnog, you can use rum flavoring (which is alcoholic, too). If there are kids at your gathering, you can put the rum on the side so adults can add their own to taste. And if anyone dislikes nutmeg, putting it on the side accommodates their tastes as well.

Gramma Jane's Famous Eggnog 
 - adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1968 Edition
  serves 6 to 8

1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups whole milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Rum to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)

1- In a large saucepan beat the 1/3 cup sugar and the egg yolks. Add salt. Stir in the milk.

2- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats a spoon. It will not be as thick as a custard. (I timed it while making a gallon. This took about 50 minutes. Taking turns stirring is a good way to make it easier.)

3- Pour this mixture into a medium mixing bowl and set that into an ice bath to speed the cooling. Stir occasionally as it cools.

4- When the mixture is cooled, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer going, gradually add the 3 Tbsp sugar, beating until soft peaks form (when you pull the beater out of the egg whites, they should make little mountains that floomp over at the tip).

5- Add the beaten egg whites to the custard and mix thoroughly. Add the vanilla, rum (unless you'll be serving it on the side), and nutmeg. Chill 3 or 4 hours.

6- Pour the eggnog into a punch bowl or cups. Dot with dollops of whipped cream and add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.

Thank you Jane for sharing the recipe.


Lindsey said...

I have never liked Eggnog that much, either, but have always bought it for my man. Because I'm nice like that.
But this recipe looks good! I'm gonna try it!
Thanks and Happy New Years from the South Sound!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Can you explain how this tastes different?


hobby baker said...

Floomp. I love that word. I made a cooked nog and it was great but I still like to thin it. I'm going to have to try the egg white folded in version. I just can't abide the store bought stuff either.

grace said...

my 'rum to taste' would be very slight because i'm the lightest of all lightweights when it comes to booze. thanks for sharing this recipe--before now, i had no idea how to make eggnog! happy new year, lynn. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I hope you had a great New Year!

bellini said...

There really is nothing better than a glass of homemade nog over the holidays. I hope that 2012 brings you all you hope for, plenty of laughter and much love...oh yes and plenty of good food is a given.

Elle said...

My Dad used to make great eggnog so the stuff in the carton has never had much appeal it is so different. This sounds just right! Happy New Year!

Anh said...

happy new Year, Lynn! :)

Abby said...

My husband loves eggnog, but I've never actually had it! Someday I'll get brave enough. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

As soon as you said, "Gramma," I was transported to the scene from "While You Were Sleeping," where the family endures the lumpy eggnog Mona made. Lol.

Yours looks lovely and I think I'll try it rather than buying next year. Maybe I won't wait till next year!

Melinda said...

I haven't had eggnog in years. It's not big here. But I love it. I might like it a bit more with some booze in it...maybe in October?

LyB said...

Eggnog used to be one of those things I never imagined could be made at home. It must taste so much fresher than the cartons! I might try it next Christmas. Happy New Year Lynn! All the best to you and yours!