Our Favourite Eggnog – Reed Family Linen

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Our Favourite Eggnog

Eggnog, rather divisive isn’t it? A drink you either love or hate, I have always thought that it’s name doesn’t do it any favours. Nog, believed to come from “noggin” meaning a wooden cup, isn’t winning any literary beauty pageants.

Eggnog, rather divisive isn’t it? A drink you either love or hate, I have always thought that it’s name doesn’t do it any favours. Nog, believed to come from “noggin” meaning a wooden cup, isn’t winning any literary beauty pageants.

I’m sure if we called it, magical Christmas drinking custard, it would be a firm favourite.

It’s rich and creamy and with a little practice, it’s easy to make perfectly each time.

The silken mixture of beaten egg yolks, cream and whiskey or rum, is served chilled and in our home, topped with extra whipped cream and cinnamon.

Once you have the knack of tempering the eggs, the rest is simple. The art of slowly adding hot liquid to raise the temperature is something my grandmother taught me as a child on the coast of South Africa. The very British tradition of eggnog had not infiltrated the sweltering hot summers of Durban, but we would make “Milk Tart” a cinnamon topped set custard nestled in a buttery shortcrust base, traditionally eaten ice cold on a hot day with sweet tea.

For my eggnog recipe, you warm up a mixture of milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg and then slowly add that mixture to whisked egg yolks until completely combined. If you whisk the yolks straight into the saucepan, you’ll end up with some lumpy egg curds.

Once you temper your egg yolk-milk mixture, you return it to the stove and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should reach 160º C

Whiskey or rum is the question, both taste delicious, rum tends to be a little sweeter. I typically raid the drinks cabinet for a good whiskey. You can make a child friendly version with less or no whiskey, Pagan always felt most grown up being offered a sip with just the slightest hint of whiskey and it was tradition, to leave Santa some eggnog and biscuits on Christmas eve.

It’s rich and creamy and with a little practice, it’s easy to make perfectly each time.

If you’re serving it the same day, you can place in a pitcher in an ice bucket to keep it chilled. When stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge, it can last up to 4 days in the fridge. I love a recipe that can be prepped ahead of the Christmas Day rush.

If you are following a strict vegan diet, you can make an equally wonderful version of this without the egg yolks, by blending the below recipe in your blender with a cup of cashew nut cream added and a little cardamom.

We are enjoying this family favourite this year with a little added protein, the story involves our daughters recent health scare and remarkable recovery, but it’s a tale for next year, as we are still navigating this new normal within our household.

My last eggnog thought before I leave you to enjoy the recipe is, it makes for a fabulous dessert with Kahlua instead of whiskey, served with dark truffles and light, crisp tuile biscuits.

Ingredients |

  • 2 cups of whole or nut milk,
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, plus an extra sprinkle for garnish,
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg,
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract,
  • 6 large free range egg yolks,
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar,
  • 1 cup of heavy cream or coconut cream,
  • 1 cup of whiskey or rum (optional)
  • Whipped cream or thick coconut cream for serving

Directions |

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine your milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and slowly bring mixture to a gentle boil.

We are enjoying this family favourite this year with a little added protein, the story involves our daughters recent health scare and remarkable recovery, but it’s a tale for next year, as we are still navigating this new normal within our household.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the yolks are pale in colour. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to egg yolks in batches to temper the eggs and whisk until combined.

Return the mixture to your saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick (and coats the back of a spoon) but does not boil. (If using a sugar thermometer, mixture should reach 160ºC )

Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and whiskey or rum. Refrigerate until chilled.

When ready to serve, garnish with extra whipped cream and cinnamon and serve with an elegant Reed napkin, a crackling fireplace and a big comfy chair to nestle into for the evening.

Merry Christmas and happy “egg nogging”,

Karen Reed

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