Thursday, December 6, 2012

Real Egg Nog: Christmas With a Punch

Which of the above items is most dangerous? 
...and what if we mixed 'em all together and served 'em to company? 

Eggnog.  We've all had the stuff that comes in a milk carton.  Thick, sickly sweet.  Drinking it is kind of like drinking custard. In fact, that's basically what it is. It's not eggnog.  Not really.  Not in a 19th century, Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol" kind of way.  Not even in a 1940's, "It's A Wonderful Life" kind of way.  Eggnog is not of the modern world.  Look at the ingredients above.  Everything here is something your doctor and law enforcement have told you to cut down on...or avoid entirely if you want to live to see the New Year. It's high octane booze, pure sugar, heavy cream and eggs.  Raw eggs. A salmonella crap shoot. A bonafide cholesterol bomb. This is Christmas before seatbelts.  Before fire retardant jammies and smoke detectors.  For heaven sake this is an artifact from when we put burning candles on dead pine trees inside wooden houses. Celebrating Christmas took guts back then. Maxing out a credit card at the mall pales in comparison to the risks people used to take to welcome the baby Jesus into the world. And presented here, with a disclaimer, is a truly authentic Eggnog recipe. Try it at home. At your own risk. Driving will be out of the question.

So...What IS the most dangerous ingredient shown above?  It might be the eggs.  Now. We grow our own organic eggs so we know they're fresh,  clean and properly refrigerated. Even so, that's no guarantee.  Salmonella is nasty.  And it's possible that it's happily active in a raw egg, which is why it would most likely  be illegal to serve this recipe in a commercial venue in North America.  Modern standards require pasteurization of raw eggs. (So much for real alfredo and hollandaise.) There's more on reducing the risk of raw eggs from the US CDC.  The hangover might be worse. But that's totally up to you.

If I haven't scared you back to the milk carton full of goo, please proceed (at your own risk) to:

Virginia Egg Nog 

You'll Need:

6 eggs
1 1/4 Cups of Sugar
1 1/2 Quarts of cream (6 cups - use lighter cream or cut heavy cream: 4 cups heavy cream to 2 cups whole milk)
Pint of good rye whiskey
Dash of Rum (whatever that means - I like using a shot of spiced rum for flavor)


(OK - my ancient cook book assumes you know your way around.  I'll add some notes that might help you.)

You need to separate the egg yolk from the whites.  Here's a cool little You Tube tutorial on separating eggs with a water bottle. I just crack the eggs and use the shells to separate them myself.

Once you have the eggs separated, you need to beat the yolks with 1 Cup of the sugar so that the sugar melts into the yolks. Add the cream and the whiskey alternately (a little at a time, keep stirring to mix) then add the rum and mix. Season with ground nutmeg.  Notice it doesn't say how much, so try this to taste.  I'm going to suggest 1/4 teaspoon for starters.

Next, beat the egg whites until they're stiff and then add in 1/4 cup of sugar.  An electric hand mixer, egg beater or a good whisk and elbow grease will do the trick.  The whites should form a nice peak when you pull your mixing tool up.

Drop the egg whites on top of your mixture in the bowl.  It will float on top.  Dust with a bit more nutmeg on top for celebratory splendor. Chill for one hour and serve, making sure you have received signed releases from everyone in the vicinity.

Merry Christmas!

(A few more notes and observations...)

This is eggnog.  And it's awesome.  
If you use grocery store eggs, get the freshest, best quality eggs you can find.
Use good liquor, cream and spice.
Chances are you've never actually had eggnog.
Take it easy. This is a rich dessert combined with a stiff drink.