The Nutmeg of Consolation

The best thing about the holidays?  Well, lots of things, but I think on the top of my list is the food, and for festive comestibles you can’t beat Eggs, Sugar, Cream and Bourbon.  Nothing warms the heart’s cockles quite like a quick snoot of Kentucky’s finest when you are cross country skiing in new snow…and it also happens to pair delightfully with E,S &C in this end all, be all eggnog recipe.  This is best served up freshly made, as the beaten egg whites are like bourbon and nutmeg scented clouds, and dissipate about as quickly.  Nothing is cooked, so source the bestest freshest eggs you can (they do get pickled somewhat in the bourbon and brandy, but I am making no promises).  I just made three gallons of this for a birthday celebration, with some local milk from Champoeg Dairy and organic eggs from a local farm and it was heavenly.  I use a good midrange bourbon like Bulleit, or my favorite lower end Elijah Craig, and save the Knob Creek and the Booker’s for sippin by the fire (or the snowbank).  At this party at one point I had a 10 day old puppy in one hand and a glass of Nog in the other, and that may have been a high point of 2010.  It was a lovely evening, and a great kickoff to High Holiday Season.

Here is the recipe, this serves 10-12.  Make sure you have a generous punch bowl to serve it in, as it triples in volume to about a gallon and a half.

12 dozen eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 cups whole milk

2 cups cream

2 cups bourbon

3/4 cup brandy

2 tsp nutmeg

Separate the yolks from the eggs, and beat the yolks and sugar together in a stand mixer for about 10 minutes until the consistency of butter.  S-l-o-w-l-y mix in the bourbon and the brandy.  Put in the fridge to chill.  About a half hour before you plan to serve, stir in the milk and the nutmeg.  Put the egg whites in the stand mixer and beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold into nog.  Put heavy cream in stand mixer and beat until peaks form.  Fold into nog.  Serve immediately garnished with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Go easy on this stuff if you have a big meal ahead of you as it is a meal in itself.  Happily, all the fat seems to buffer the effects of the bourbon and brandy if you do overindulge.  I know, because I have tested it.  (It does tend to clog up the vocal chords, so best to serve after caroling, or serve Wassail instead).

While we are on the theme of eggs and cream, here is the recipe for Boiled Custard.  This recipe comes from my mother’s high school copy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, but it is identical to the recipe used by my Father’s family.

serves 4

3 eggs or 6 egg yolks (we go with the yolks….it’s richer)

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups scalded whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

nutmeg

beat eggs, add sugar and salt.  Gradually add warm milk, stirring constantly over a double boiler with steaming but not boiling water about 7 minutes, or until the mixture coats a wooden spoon.  Chill, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving.  Served traditionally in our family after Christmas dinner with an array of holiday cookies.

And finally, for one last bourbon, eggs and cream flavored delight, here is Bourbon Butter Sauce.  Good over Pecan Pumpkin pie, or just plain ice cream, or bananas sauteed in butter, or anything else you can think of.

4 TBSP unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1/3 c sugar

1 large egg

1/2 TBSP very hot water

1/4 c heavy cream

1/4 c bourbon

Melt butter in a double boiler.  Beat egg and sugar until well blended.  Stir into butter.  Add hot water and stir until mix coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes.

Remove from double boiler and let cool.  Stir in cream and whiskey.  Taste.  Swoon.  Then go have a nap with Sancho under grandpa’s quilt.  Happy Holidays everyone!

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