to the boards
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by Yee-Fan Sun
continued from page 1
If you've always wanted to make eggnog but can't get over worrying that
the traditional raw eggs used in this beverage might mean you inflict
salmonella poisoning upon you and all your guests, here's a recipe for
cooked eggnog that avoids that problem. Basically, you'll have to heat
up the egg mixture until it reaches 170F, the temperature at which any
nasty bacteria present should successfully be killed off. It's actually
a pretty simple process, provided you take care to do three things.
First, you'll need to get your hands on a cooking thermometer. Second,
be certain to heat things up very, very slowly -- no getting impatient
here, unless you want a grainy mess. And last, stir the mixture
constantly once it's on the stove, to keep the end product from being
clumpy and gross.
Note: This produces a lovely
custardy nog that has good amount of body, without being so thick as to
feel like you're trying to sip flan. If you want a fluffier eggnog, you
can whip up some of the whipping cream just before serving and fold it
into the mixture for an airier texture. Of course, if the eggnog ends up
too viscous for your liking, you can also easily thin it out with more
5 cups whole milk*
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsps. vanilla
1 cup dark rum, or to taste
yields: 7 or 8 cups
of nog, or about 10-12 servings
skim milk will not do; the milk/cream quantity is already adjusted
to produce a nog with just enough to body to be satisfying. In
fact, true eggnog connoisseurs might even complain there's not
enough fat in this version; should you know for a fact that like
your nog very thick and super rich, you can up the ratio to as
much as half milk, half cream.
the milk into a good heavy-bottomed pot, and heat it up just to the
point where it's beginning to boil. You'll see little bubbles forming at
the surface in the middle of the pot, and the milk will turn frothy;
this is perfect.
the milk's heating up, whisk together the eggs and sugar in a mixing
bowl. When the milk's reached the just-boiling point, take it off the
heat. You want to SLOWLY add the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture,
pouring in a steady but small stream and whisking constantly. If your
pot's heavy and unwieldy, you might find it easier to use a ladle to add
the milk (this is my preferred method). The key here is to add the hot
liquid very gradually to avoid shocking the eggs.
the mixture back into the pot, and slide the pot back on the stove. Pop
in the thermometer. Over a moderately low flame, heat things up until
the thermometer just registers 170F, a process which can take anywhere
from 6 minutes to double that. Basically, the more slowly you'll heat up
the mixture, the less likely things will curdle irreparably on you;
however, an overly low heat may also try your patience. (I cook at a
medium-low temperature and just make sure to keep an eye on the
consistency and temperature.) Whether you choose a heat setting that's
closer to medium or low, however, it's critical to stir the mixture
constantly to ensure that the top and bottom of the mixture don't cook
at completely different rates.
you've reached the magic temperature, immediately remove the pot from
the stove. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any
clumpy bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan (if you've
done a good job stirring, they're shouldn't be much). Stir in the cream,
vanilla and rum. Do a taste test (yum), adding more sugar or alcohol if
this point, it's best to stick the bowl of cooked eggnog in a bigger
bowl full of ice water to quickly cool the concoction. When it's more or
less reached room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Chill the eggnog
for at least a few hours before serving. When you're ready to enjoy,
pour or ladle into small glasses (remember: that nog is rich stuff!),
and sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg.
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