Marge: [Opening the refridgerator] Homer, didn't you get any milk? All I see is eggnog.
Homer: 'Tis the season, Marge! We only get thirty sweet noggy days. Then the government takes it away again. [pours some on his cereal]
~ The Simpsons (Marge Be Not Proud, season 7, episode 11)
Sweet noggy eggnog. The best holiday beverage. Smooth, creamy and full of spices; it's like a chai milkshake but boozey.
According to legend (aka wiki), eggnog has its roots in medieval England having developed from "posset", a hot beverage made of sweetened hot milk spiked with ale or wine. Over the years eggs were added and more potent liquors like brandy, sherry and Madeira used. The drink was popular among the aristocracy as dairy products and eggs were expensive and did not keep well.
The "nog" part of the name may be referring to a small carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol which was called a "noggin" in Middle English or perhaps is a shortened version of "egg 'n' grog" alluding to the name for drinks made from rum.
I love the stuff and I really wanted to make eggnog fudge and eggnog macarons this year for Baking for Hospice and all our Christmas parties coming up. However, despite our colonial heritage, eggnog isn't a terribly common drink in New Zealand. Not many of my friends had tried it before and when I went out in search of premade eggnog in liquor stores I couldn't find it anywhere! So I made my own Sweet Noggy Brandy Eggnog.
Traditionally, eggnog uses raw eggs, mixed with milk, cream, sugar, brandy/rum and spices. Since I was making the eggnog fudge for Baking for Hospice I went with a cooked version for food safety reasons. It was actually much easier than I thought. You pretty much just make a custard, throw in some spices and spike it with as much (or as little) brandy as you like.
It totally kicks the pants off Bailey's AND you can make as much as you want, whenever you want. Even after the government takes it away. Heck, you can nog yourself out with it.
The recipe doesn't make a huge batch. Enough for a batch of eggnog fudge, a batch of SMBC for eggnog macarons and some left over for C and I to sip on for a couple of nights. If you were making it for a party, I'd probably double it (if not triple it).
You could also use rum instead of brandy if that is your tipple of choice. I just like the spicy festive, somewhat mellower taste of brandy.
I have yet to try it on cereal but I perhaps it could be yummy in porridge with some spiced plums?
Homer might have been on to a good thing there.
Sweet Noggy Brandy Eggnog
Makes 5 cups
(serves around 4 people, 1 drink each)
2 cups whole milk
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (made it on the sweet side, I might add 3 Tbsp only next time)
1/2 cup brandy (I added an extra 2-3 Tbsp of brandy, just adjust to your taste)
2 cups cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. In a medium saucepan heat the milk, cloves, vanilla and cinnamon on the very lowest heat until just starting to bubble (swirl to mix).
2. In the meantime boil a jug of water. In a large pyrex or stainless steel bowl, whisk yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (~2 minutes).
3. Take the milk off the heat and add the hot milk into the yolks a ladleful at a time stirring constantly. Rinse out the sauce pan and fill the saucepan with the hot water and place over a medium heat. Place the bowl of yolks on top to make a double boiler (making sure the bowl does not touch the water) and heat the mixture stirring constantly until thickened and can coat the back of a wooden spoon (~3 minutes). Don't let the mixture boil!
4. Take the custard off the heat and let it cool for an hour. If you are using the eggnog for Eggnog Fudge, leave the cloves in for a fuller flavor, but if you are going to serve the eggnog sieve the cloves out. Stir in the cream, nutmeg, vanilla and brandy. Taste and add more brandy if you would like it boozier. For the best flavour, chill overnight before serving to let the flavors develop. Serve chilled.