Eggnog – Raw vs Cooked
Alright, eggnog! Let’s do this!!!
So let me start off by saying that I’m not scared of salmonella and I’m perfectly fine with consuming raw eggs. After looking into the history of eggnog a little, I found out that traditionally it is made using raw eggs. Also, look up “raw eggnog” and I guarantee most of the results will be by vegans, many of which who deliberately left out the word “vegan” from the title of the post with the chance that non-vegans may click on it and get tricked into making a vegan eggnog using carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices, monoglycerides, and colorings… Wait sorry, those are actually the ingredients found in store-bought eggnog. Raw vegan eggnog is actually pretty good stuff, however, that’s not what I do here. I’m a traditionalist, so if you’re vegan, look for an eggnog recipe elsewhere. And most importantly, regardless of your dietary preferences, don’t buy eggnog from the store, please. Make it yourself, it takes literally 5 minutes and tastes that much better. (´･ω･`)
Originally, I wanted to try doing this with almond milk, and cream… Then I decided not to for the following reasons:
1. I get my whole milk and cream both from the same store, which is the only place I know of besides farms that sell organic hormone-free dairy and, well, actual whole milk that hasn’t been tampered with by low-fat dieters. I normally only use almond milk when I don’t have whole milk on hand, but since I plan on using cream for this anyway, I might as well pick up some milk too.
2. The only real reason for using almond milk, or even giving out a recipe that uses almond milk would be if I were making a dairy-free version, but no, I plan to use cream anyway… so there’s really no point. Whole milk it is.
Now having said that, you probably could use almond milk instead of whole milk if you are on a diet and trying to cut back on your– wait what am I saying… eggnog is not a dieter’s recipe. Drink eggnog, gain some weight and be happy this season, then go back on your diet in the spring, or just don’t make eggnog at all. In all seriousness though, almond milk doesn’t thicken up as creamy as whole milk does when cooked, so if you’re doing raw eggnog, you could use it and it’ll probably taste the same as with whole milk albeit ever so slightly less sweet and ever so slightly nuttier, but if you’re cooking your eggnog? Just use whole milk. What about 2%, 1% or skim you may ask? Well honestly, I don’t recommend using that fucking shit for ANYTHING!!! ( ꒪Д꒪)ノ
So traditionally, eggnogs contains raw eggs and is aged for weeks with bourbon or rum (which supposedly kills off any bacteria). And while I am a traditionalist, I’m also a cook, so my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to make 2 batches of eggnog with the same ingredients, except one was cooked and the other wasn’t. My purpose was to figure out if tradition yielded more flavour.
So after the initial taste test with both batches freshly made, the cooked one tasted better, no doubt; it was richer, creamier, more custardy, and packed a lot more flavour than the raw one. It was also warmer since it was freshly cooked after all, so I wrapped them both up and chilled them in the fridge, as eggnog is meant to be served chilled anyway. Why you’d want a chilled beverage during winter, I really don’t know, but that’s how it is. A few hours after chilling, I took them out of the fridge again, noticed the cooked one was forming a little bit of skin at the top, but it wasn’t too big a deal since a quick stir and it was creamy-looking again. At this point, the cooked eggnog was slightly colder than room temperature and once again maintained its status as the superior eggnog in terms of richness and creaminess, and it honestly tasted exactly like the one we used to buy in the store. Now a few hours later after this, I got curious and did yet another taste test. This time, the raw eggnog started to blend together better with the rum, and it started tasting less like raw rum-spiced watery sweetened condensed milk and more like eggnog, albeit with a slight tang. The cooked eggnog was still creamier, but not better. In fact, neither were better than one another at this point; they were just different.
So I decided I’d continue to age them both for 24-hours in total before giving the final taste test. Now alcohol-free eggnog is meant to be consumed within a day, but depending on how much booze you put into it, it could potentially keep for weeks. Since I wasn’t a fan of the idea of making a large batch of eggnog weeks before serving and preferred the idea of just making it the night before a party, I figured 24 hours of aging would be ideal for experimental purposes.
So the next day, I performed the final taste test with my mother. Basically nothing has changed since the last taste test, but my mother and I agreed that the cooked eggnog tasted more like eggnog, and overall, we both thought it was the superior one. So I suppose tradition doesn’t always yield tastier stuff. (´･ω･`) I wasn’t done yet though; the final step involved folding in our reserved egg whites, which shall be beaten to stiff peaks before the aforementioned folding. The resulting drink was… well, a very foamy eggnog. It definitely tasted a lot like a foamy milkshake of sorts, and not so much like the eggnog we used to buy, so I suppose if you’re looking for that store-bought flavour, leave out the egg whites, but I encourage experimentation to see what you prefer! Personally though I don’t think I’d serve it at a dinner party with the egg whites…
By the way, I did end up aging the raw eggnog for a few more days, and it actually started tasting better and better as it aged. Still not as good or convenient as the cooked eggnog though.
So onto the recipe. I like the following recipe because it’s easily scalable, convenient for me because the milk and cream bottles I buy contain about 4 cups of milk and about 2 cups of cream, and the flavour is incredible so I’m too happy to try experimenting with other ratios of eggs, milk, or cream. Eggnog is cozy little drink which shouldn’t be made with too much thought and I want to keep it that way! (Another reason is that I don’t want to get fat via experimentation, and I’m sure you can understand that. (´･ω･`))
Of course though, eggnog has no precise ingredients. Add more or less sugar, more or less cream, more or fewer eggs, and exclude the booze if you’re boring. It’s your eggnog, after all.
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy/whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark Jamaican rum
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick of cinnamon
(For raw eggnog, just separate the yolks and whites into separate bowls, mix all the ingredients together, age in the fridge overnight.)
1. Heat up your milk and cream in a saucepan with a stick of cinnamon and a generous grating of nutmeg.
2. While milk and cream is heating up, crack the eggs, separating the yolks from the whites into separate bowls, reserving the egg whites in the fridge until needed if you want to foam up your eggnog with beaten egg whites later.
3. Add the sugar in with the egg yolks and mix it all up until all the sugar is dissolved.
4. Once the milk and cream is fairly hot, pour some of the mixture into the egg yolks and sugar to temper the egg yolks so they don’t curdle when you add them immediately into the hot milk and cream. Give it a good stir, making sure there are no lumps, then add the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and stir until it is all combined.
5. Cook the mixture on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Now apparently you’re supposed to cook it until the mixture reaches a temperature of 160F or 71C for it to be considered “safe” according to Canadian and American food safety laws, but I honestly don’t care whether or not it’s “safe” and I’m only interested in making it taste good, so I just cook it until it’s able to coat the back of a wooden spoon and reaches the consistency that I want it to be.
6. Remove from heat, stir in your rum and vanilla extract, pour into a serving bowl or an empty glass bottle along with the cinnamon stick, let it cool down to room temperature and pop it in the fridge to chill and develop its flavour for a few hours or overnight.
7. To serve, optionally whip up your egg whites to stiff peaks, gently fold it into the eggnog, pour into glasses, garnish with your cinnamon stick and a generous fresh grating of nutmeg on top, and enjoy~!!
Wanna learn more about eggnog and its history? Here are some good resources I found: