While it wouldn't be the holidays without eggnog for us, we really wanted to come up with a cooked eggnog that wasn't too heavy to enjoy. Cooking both the yolks and the whites removes any raw egg danger, leaving you with a perfect-for-parties drink that can be scaled up or down as you need.
- Servings: 4-6 Makes about 1 quart
- 3 cups milk
- 2 large strips lemon zest
- 1 large strip orange zest
- 1 vanilla bean, split and vanilla beans scraped loose
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 egg whites
- 2/3 cup white rum
- 2 to 3 tablespoons bourbon, optional
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving
- Finely grated orange and/or lemon zest, for serving
1. Put 2 cups milk, both citrus zests, vanilla bean, and beans in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl until lightened in color.
2. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the eggs. Return the egg mixture to the pan and set over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure 8 motion until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the remaining cup milk to stop the cooking. Remove the vanilla bean pod and zest strips; discard. Transfer custard to a large bowl; cool to room temperature. To speed this up, set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice.
3. Put about 1 inch water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the egg whites and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl large enough to rest in the saucepan without touching the water. Set the bowl over the simmering water and beat until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites feel warm to the touch, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and beat the whites with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Fold the egg whites into custard mixture. Add the rum and bourbon, if using, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Transfer the eggnog to a punch bowl or pitcher. Pour into small cups and top with freshly grated nutmeg and citrus zest.