I grew up on a street where there were lots of little girls my age. During the Holidays, at least one of our parents would have a party which would include children. I have vivid memories of crouching underneath The Hilliard’s long dining room table in my Florence Eiseman Christmas dress with the other girls. We were very into Harriett the Spy back then, so eavesdropping was a priority. After crawling up and down the length of the table, we figured out that the hot spot was directly underneath Mrs. Hilliard’s huge silver punch bowl of boozy eggnog.
Store-bought eggnog is one thing; homemade is quite another. It is not as difficult to make as you might imagine. In fact, once you’ve beaten the eggs, this recipe is a breeze. It’s fine cold, but it is especially delicious served warm. Use the best cognac you can find. The flavor really shines through.
8 large eggs, yolks and whites separated and reserved
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups, whole milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup French cognac
1 fresh whole nutmeg, grated
1. BEAT: In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks on HIGH speed until thick and creamy. Add sugar and beat on HIGH again until very light, about 3-5 minutes. Add salt and beat to combine. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Set aside.
2. HEAT AND COMBINE: In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and vanilla over MEDIUM heat. Do not boil. When small bubbles begin to appear, whisk the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Add the beaten whites and the cognac and stir until everything is incorporated.
3. SERVE: Pour egg nog into serving cups and sprinkle a generous amount of freshly grated nutmeg on top. Drink hot.