I will be signing At Home at Reading Terminal Market today (Wednesay) from about 11 AM. Look for me in Center Court across from Meze. Books are also available at Coopermarket at 302 Levering Mill Road in Bala Cynwyd and at Joseph Fox Bookshop at 1724 Sansom Street.
Please pass this post along to any friends and family responsible for the eggnog at the Christmas celebration.
Among the joys of Christmas is eggnog and there is nothing like homemade. I learned to make eggnog from the legendary Peter von Starck nearly 40 years ago as a cook at his La Panetiere restaurant. For a Jewish kid from Yonkers, Peter was an epiphany — as was his eggnog. Peter, an extravagant personality, took no culinary shortcuts. And for a once a year treat for guests, you should not take shortcuts either.
So, here’s my recipe for Traditional Eggnog — an homage to Peter — from At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining. Don’t be intimidated by making the custard base. Just keep the heat low and the custard moving to avoid scrambling your eggs. If your eggs do scramble slightly, pass custard through a fine strainer and it will be fine. Bourbon is my favorite alcoholic accent but feel free to substitute brandy or rum — and don’t skimp on the quantity of alcohol.
(Book owners, once you get comfortable with making a custard base, check out my Peppermint Ice Cream Sundaes on Page 416 of At Home. Ice cream is the ultimate do ahead in desserts. There’s no a better holiday ice cream than my peppermint made with chunks of candy canes.)
At Home’s Traditional Eggnog
There are all sorts of approaches to eggnog, but our favorite is to make a custard base, add some spice and bourbon, brandy or rum, and enrich with some whipped cream. It’s thick but delightfully drinkable. Serve very cold.
do ahead Eggnog can be made up to four days ahead, but add whipped cream no more than a few hours before serving. Stir as needed.
7 cups whole milk
10 egg yolks
11⁄2 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream, divided
11⁄2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups bourbon, rum or brandy
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
8 cinnamon sticks
1 In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar and beat until mixture thickens and turns pale yellow.
2 Add milk to a 4-quart pot and over moderately high heat, scald milk to just below boiling. Working very gradually at first, add milk to egg-sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Once you’ve added about a third of the milk, you can add the rest more quickly.
3 Return mixture to pot over low heat and cook, constantly stirring, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. If you’re using a thermometer, shoot for a temperature of 170°. Remove from heat, and immediately transfer mixture back to the mixing bowl. Add 1 cup heavy cream, vanilla, bourbon and nutmeg and mix well. Allow to cool and transfer to refrigerator. Chill for at least 6 hours.
4 Just prior to serving, whip 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form and fold into custard mixture. Transfer eggnog to a pitcher. Divide between glasses and serve with a cinnamon stick and some grated nutmeg on top.
yields 3 quarts
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