For a really special holiday treat, just before serving, stir brandy, liqueur, rum or bourbon into your eggnog. Garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg, cinnamon sticks or candy canes and whipped cream.
Cooking With Eggs: Recipes for Every Meal
Classic Cooked Eggnog Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. Stir in 2 cups milk.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is thick enough to just coat a metal spoon with a thin film and temperature reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately.
Stir in remaining 2 cups milk and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight. Yields 12 servings.
Ladle eggnog from a punch bowl into serving cups or pour from a pitcher.
To keep eggnog cold during a party, set punch bowl or pitcher in a bed of crushed ice.
Secrets of success:
Low heat, a heavy saucepan, constant stirring and patience are the keys to making custard sauce. If you increase the cooking temperature to try to speed the process along, the custard is likely to curdle. Stirring constantly, making sure to cover the entire bottom and the corners of the pan, prevents scorching and ensures that the mixture heats evenly.
Watch carefully and test frequently toward the end of the cooking time, after about 10 to 12 minutes. The last few minutes are crucial. Undercooked custard will be thin and watery; overcooked custard will curdle. The difference is a matter of only a few degrees.
Coats a metal spoon:
A thermometer is best, but if you don't have one, use this test for doneness. Dip a metal spoon partway into the custard, then withdraw it. Custard should drip off the spoon, leaving a thin coating that adheres to the spoon. Repeat test as necessary, using a clean spoon each time, until the correct stage is reached.
Beginners may want to cook custard in a double boiler over simmering water. This method takes longer for the custard to thicken, but allows more control and reduces the risk of curdling.
For perfectly smooth eggnog, pour through a sieve before chilling.
For a richer eggnog, substitute half-and-half or light cream for some of the milk.
Spice it up by adding 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the custard before chilling.