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Eggnog is a drink that benefits from aging. Don’t worry about the raw eggs – as long as the alcohol content is high enough (at least 20%), it will kill any bacteria. Scientists at Rockefeller University in New York tested this theory last year on their own spiked eggnog, for ScienceFriday.com. They aged it for six weeks and then tested it; they found no traces of salmonella or other bacteria.

It doesn’t need to age a long time – two or three weeks will do. Start it today and it will be ready in time for Christmas or New Year’s. Those few weeks make all the difference in flavor and texture.

Once you’ve made the eggnog and refrigerated it, give it a good shake each day. It will thicken and the flavors, each distinctive when initially combined, will come together into a creamy and smooth blend. The alcohol will mix and react with the sugars and proteins, allowing the flavors to combine. The proteins in the egg yolks will break down and act as a gelatin for the whole mixture, causing it to thicken.

Eggnog
• 12 large eggs, separated
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 quart whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 quart bourbon
• 1 cup Cognac or other high-quality brandy
• ½ cup dark rum
• pinch salt
• grated nutmeg for garnish
Separate egg yolks and whites. Combine egg yolks and sugar in large mixing bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy. Gradually add cream, milk, bourbon, rum, Cognac and salt, while continuously whisking.


In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the yolk mixture. Bottle eggnog immediately and refrigerate for three to four weeks, shaking well each day. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg before serving. Makes about three quarts of eggnog.

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