Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Variations of this recipe can be found on many web pages. One page credits the NY Time but I am a Times Select member and have not been able to find it there. Wherever it came from, it’s really the best recipe. Below is how I’ve been making it for years. I usually double or triple the recipe because it goes fast in my house. I put it in empty decorative rum bottles. The alcohol is optional – it’s delicious without it and kids love it. I add the alcohol to part of it and leave the rest plain so that each person can add as much of the type of alcohol they prefer. I like to add a bit of rum and bit of orange liquor such as Grand Marnier. This is great stuff so don’t skimp on the spices – use fresh ones, especially nutmeg.
- 1 quart milk (not skim)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 5 cloves
- 10 leaves mace
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 quart half-and-half (or 1 cup heavy cream plus 3 cups milk) or 1 quart light cream (or 1 cup heavy cream plus 3 cups milk)
- 1 1⁄2 cups dark rum
- 1 1⁄2 cups brandy
- grated fresh nutmeg
- Combine milk and spices including vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan and let them infuse over lowest possible heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well mixed.
- Bring milk just to a boil and very gradually whisk it into the yolk mixture. Do this a few tablespoons at a time at first, stir very well before adding more hot milk (this is called tempering the egg yolks and prevents them from overcooking and curdling). Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring steadily with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until foam subsides and mixture thickens to consistency of heavy cream. Mixture should thickly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil, or mixture will curdle. Keep the heat at medium.
- Strain mixture into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in half-and-half (or the other substitutions mentioned above), vanilla extract, nutmeg and rum and brandy if using. If you choose you can leave the alcohol out.
- Refrigerate eggnog until cold, at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Just before serving, dust top of eggnog with additional freshly grated nutmeg.
- Note: "half-and-half" is NOT a mixture of half cream and half milk, but it is equal in butterfat content to a mixture of 1/4 cream and 3/4 milk.