Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nog, the Real Stuff

My wife is a devotee of the Egg Nog. To avoid the parade of cartons of the simply ok to completely horrid of the grocery store stuff I started making the good stuff twice a season, once for our annual holiday party, and once on Christmas Eve. This seems to satisfy her; along with last year's discovery of egg nog ice cream. I might try making some of this myself this year as well.

I must also confess that the Tom and Jerry is a family favorite on my father's side of the family. The history of the Tom and Jerry, the name commonly given to eggnog that includes brandy, comes from Pierce Egan, an author popular in the 1820s, wrote a book called "Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom". To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called "Tom and Jerry". It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe and forever named the beverage.

The traditional spirits to include are bourbon and, for the Tom and Jerry, brandy. I "discovered" that Jameson Irish Whisky is an excellent replacement for the bourbon when I ran out of bourbon making a pecan pie with a double on the rocks for me, and some of my guests actually preferred it.

Here's my favorite recipe for real nog:

12 eggs, separated
6 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Bourbon or Irish Whisky
1+ ½ cups sugar
¾ cup brandy or calvados
2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg

In a large bowl and using a mixer, cream the egg yolks with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (the mixture will become firm and the colour of butter).

Very slowly, add in the Bourbon/Whisky) and brandy - just a little at a time.

When Bourbon/Whisky and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you're making the eggnog).

30 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture along with 1+ ½ teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream and vanilla extract with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.

In yet another very clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture then fold the cream into the egg mixture and topp with the remaining nutmeg (this final step can be done in a punch bowl if you're going to be serving this at a party).

Serves: 8 mugs or 12 punch glasses

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