makes 1 1/4 quarts (1.25 L)
Music Pairing: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
You’ll need a dedicated 15 minutes to prepare this eggnog, so plan on making it when you can give it your full attention. I start off making a zabaglione-like base (an Italian pastry cream used in tiramisu), and then stir in the milk. It’s a gentler way to cook the egg yolks, and ensure they don’t curdle or break.
I first tried it using the whole egg, but it was missing richness and depth, so I decided to save the whites for my royal icing and go with just the yolks. Many eggnog recipes call for cream and whole milk—it’s rare to find a lower fat version. Look no further, though—I made mine with 2% milk and honestly can’t imagine enjoying a whole glass with a heavier version. A splash of bourbon is totally optional.
4 large egg yolks (save the whites for a later use)
3/4 cup (150 grams) natural cane granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
4 cups (1 liter) 1% or 2% milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (a generous pinch for me)
Get the double boiler going: Fill a 3.5-quart pot one-third of the way up with water. Set it over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, add the egg yolks and sugar to a 2-quart metal or glass bowl that will fit securely on top of the pot. Whisk vigorously until well combined and the egg mixture drops in thick ribbons when you hold the whisk over the bowl.
Remove the lid from the pot, and reduce the boiling water to a gentle simmer (little bubbles popping to the surface). Place the bowl on top of the pot. Whisk vigorously for five minutes, until the mixture is thickened and the sugar is mostly melted.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add them to the egg-sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk. Whisk vigorously to mix it well. Whisk in the remaining milk. Whisk in the nutmeg. Continue to cook the eggnog, whisking constantly, for 10 more minutes.
At this point you can serve the cooked eggnog warm. Alternatively, you can transfer it to a glass bottle. Let it cool for 30 minutes on the counter, then cover, and place the bottle in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.