What is eggnog? Have you ever thought about it? I mean, it’s a drink – a lovely caloric drink – that is very traditional during the holidays. It’s made with separated eggs and cream and flavored with nutmeg.
And that’s really what it is. It’s not a flavor, per se. And yet, you can make eggnog flavored pancakes, eggnog flavored quick breads, and so forth. But eggnog itself is really just a drink.
I never thought about that until I decided to finally make eggnog ice cream – something I’ve wanted to do for many years. I realized there’s not an eggnog “flavoring” that I could add to a basic ice cream base to duplicate that wonderful eggnog flavor. Not like pumpkin or cranberry, for example.
So I decided that the best thing to do was to incorporate actual eggnog, but not the home-made variety – the yellow, thick stuff that comes in cartons. There’s not too much in the way of food that I buy that contains fake colors and a variety of chemicals. But in this family, we all love eggnog in a carton. Of course, once you add the brandy or rum, you really don’t care about the chemicals.
So here’s the recipe I created using eggnog, and I must say, it really turned out fabulously. Unfortunately, the recipe creates a volume larger than for one bowl, given your basic ice cream maker capacity, but if you have one with two bowls, this will work out perfectly.
Eggnog Ice Cream
6 cups eggnog from a carton
Heavy sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprinkle of nutmeg
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup spiced rum
Beginning in the morning, pour the eggnog into a large saucepan. Begin heating up the eggnog.
Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and continue to heat the eggnog.
Meanwhile, add the heavy cream to the yolks in a small bowl and whisk them together.
When the eggnog is hot, slowly add the egg-cream mixture to the eggnog. This will be a slow process.
Turn up the heat just a little bit more, and continue whisking the eggnog mixture. It should continue to become thicker.
Once the mixture just comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool at room temperature for about 45 minutes or so, whisking occasionally.
Then cover the pan and refrigerate the mixture for at least 2-3 hours.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, set up your ice cream maker. Add the rum and whisk it into the eggnog mixture.
Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker bowl, and begin processing.
You will know when the ice cream is done when the machine starts making a little more noise, and ice cream forms.
At this point, place the bowl in the freezer. Try not to make the ice cream more than two hours before serving. Even with the rum, the freezer always seems to over freeze ice cream, and you have to wait quite a while for it to soften.
I served this ice cream atop pumpkin pie that included a layer of rum-soaked raisins, and was baked in a hazelnut cinnamon hazelnut pie crust.
verdict: This ice cream turned out beautifully. Incredible flavors, and not so subtle, because of the use of the commercial eggnog. No sugar was necessary in this ice cream, either, as the commercial eggnog is already sweetened. I just felt it necessary to add some heavy cream, to increase the fattiness of the ice cream, since I don’t believe in low-fat ice cream, and the egg yolks made this ice cream more like one that is custard-based. Delightful. I’ll definitely be making this again!