I love making homemade eggnog for the holidays. Since all the eggs I cook and bake with are fresh, laid by our own backyard flock, and have been handled properly, I feel confident making recipes that include partially cooked eggs.
This eggnog is a holiday tradition at our house. Our fresh eggs, along with scraped vanilla bean and freshly ground nutmeg, make it truly a guilty pleasure guaranteed to deliver plenty of holiday cheer. My recipe is pretty basic - adapted from a combination of Martha Stewart's Classic Eggnog recipe and Emeril's Eggnog recipe - and I always get compliments when I serve it to friends and family. It is a little more involved than some recipes, but so worth the extra effort!
(My recipe does contain alcohol, but please feel free to just omit the liquor if you want to make a family-friendly version.)
(makes approximately 3 quarts)
8 fresh eggs, plus 4 additional eggs separated
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream, plus 1/2 cup
6 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup brandy
Whisk the eight eggs plus the four additional yolks with the sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow and thick. Heat the 2 cups heavy cream (reserving the 1/2 cup for later), the milk and the scraped vanilla bean in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking just until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges.
Add about a cup of the milk mixture into the whisked egg and whisk to blend, then pour the egg/milk mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and continue to cook (this prevents the egg from cooking before it is incorporated), whisking, for about 3-5 minutes, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and allow to cool.
Once cooled, add the vanilla bean paste, nutmeg and liquors to the eggnog and stir well. In a small bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until soft peaks form and then gently fold into the eggnog. In a clean chilled bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the eggnog. Refrigerate until chilled, then garnish with additional fresh grated nutmeg and serve.