December 30, 2010

Spiced Egg Nog

Truth be told, I never made egg nog when we were living in the United States. We simply bought it in cartons as supermarkets stocked them when the Christmas holiday season drew near. The store-bought egg nog was full of artificial flavors and preservatives (but no real liquor), but we didn't really know it (or care) back then.

Well, since we moved back to Indonesia I had to accept the fact that Christmas in Jakarta was... Christmas in Jakarta. Egg nog is simply not in the Christmas culinary tradition here (except in a few restaurants and hotels that cater to international clientele). As far as I know, there's no ready-made egg nog sold anywhere. So, just like what I did when my favorite brand of mayonnaise disappeared from Jakarta store shelves, I decided to make my own.

And you know what? I will never buy store-bought nog again, even if it becomes available.

My recipe below is adapted and tweaked from this one I found at I specifically searched for a cooked egg nog recipe (traditionally the eggs stay raw, but I don't want to take the chance). So in essence this is a version of crème anglaise or custard sauce (or as Indonesians call it: vla). But it's not your ordinary vla ... no, sirree! And because of the booze content (about 10% rum by volume), it's definitely not for kids, though it's not likely to make the adults drunk either. And make no mistake about it, this stuff is rich. It's a dessert that you drink. :)

Spiced Egg Nog
Make this one day or the night before you plan to serve it, because the spices and rum need to hangout with the milk and sugar overnight, resulting in an oh-so-creamy smooth indulgence, elegantly nuanced with nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. 

YIELD: this makes a little over one liter of egg nog. As to how many servings it will yield, that's up to you and your guests, isn't it? ;)

5 yolks from large eggs
150 gr sugar (regular or powder/castor)
1000 ml (1 L) milk*
100-150 ml dark rum
1-2 sticks of cinnamon
3-5 buds of cloves
1 stick of vanilla bean (or 1/2-1 tsp. vanilla substitute)
grated nutmeg (I grate at least 1/4 of a nutmeg. Your mileage may vary)

Toppings (optional):
whipped cream
more grated nutmeg

*you can use an entire liter of milk, or you can combine milk + heavy cream (ie. 750 ml milk + 250 ml cream, or even 50/50) for a richer nog.

  • Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.
  • Put the milk, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean (if you're using vanilla substitute, add it later after the mixture is cooled down a bit) in a pot over low heat, making sure it never, ever boil. Stir it often so the milk doesn't scorch at the bottom. 
  • When the milk is hot (but not boiling), whisk a ladleful of the hot milk into the yolk mixture — this is called tempering the yolk (want to see a video demo of this technique?).
  • Now slowly pour the entire bowl of tempered yolk mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly.
  • Continue whisking this milk mixture until it steams (but not boiling) for about 3 minutes. 
  • Take off from the heat immediately. If you want, have a large bowl of ice water ready and put the hot pan in there to stop any further cooking.
  • Cool for about 1 hour, then strain the liquid, discarding the cinnamon, clove and vanilla bean.
  • Mix the rum into the milk, you may want to start with 100 ml first, then add the rest to taste (if the egg nog tastes a bit harsh from the rum at first, don't worry, it will mellow out).
  • Stir in the grated nutmeg to taste (and if you're using vanilla substitute, add in small increments until the vanilla 'taste' comes through, but doesn't overwhelm).
  • Chill the egg nog overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Serve with whipped cream and top with freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Leftovers (if any) can be refrigerated.

One of my most favorite and often-used kitchen gadgets:
the Microplane grater — simply the BEST tool to turn a hard nutmeg into fragrant fluffs, or zest a lime or lemon. You can also use a regular grater with very small holes, but the result will be much coarser. Or use store-bought ground nutmeg.

But it won't beat freshly grated one. Just sayin'.

1 comment:

  1. Impressive Tess! Did you make some eggnog latte also? Does Starbucks serve it during the holiday season? Did you cook turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving? =)