Friday, January 8, 2010

Just in Time for the Holidays

We are hosting our annual card party tomorrow night.  It's our one big party of the year.  We actually clean our house for it.  We invite a lot of our neighbors over and everyone tries to remember how to play "500" from last year. 

Each year we make eggnog for this party.  It's my grandma's recipe and it's the real deal - fresh milk and eggs (or as fresh as Sam's Club allows), fresh cream (as fresh as Target had at last minute), and lots of alcohol - this doesn't have to be fresh.  You can't tell a difference if it is.

This needs to be made 24-48 hours in advance of when you plan to enjoy it.  The longer it sits the stronger it gets. 

First you have to separate all 18 eggs.  Is there a kitchen gadget that will do this? 

Wait!  Did you hear that?  It was Mike in the background yelling, "Yes!  And her name is Kerry!"
He does not enjoy separating eggs.  He conveniently had some work to do.  Let me tell you - by the time you've separated 18 eggs fresh from the fridge, your fingers are almost numb from the cold.

This makes a double batch so we have to use our largest bowl.  It's absolutely huge and it gets filled by the time we are through.  Our second biggest bowl gets the whites.  The first year we made this we used every large bowl in our house because we didn't know how big a double-batch was.  We've now got the process down to two LARGE bowls and a large measuring cup.

Fun egg facts:  if you crack it on a flat surface (vs. the edge of your bowl) you will get a more straight crack line on your egg.  Also - should you happen to drop pieces of the shell into the whites, the easiest way to remove them is to scoop them our with the larger remaining part of your eggshell.  Not that it happened to me.  Twice.

Next you beat the eggs.  We do not own a Kitchenaid mixer.  Ours is a 13 1/2 year old handheld.  It works and I tell myself that I don't think the kitchenaid could mix a bowl this big.

But the kicker is, you have to beat the yolks for around 15 minutes.  I could be reading a magazine while the Kitchenaid is doing it's thing.

Actually, my grandma told me to beat the yolks until they are light and fluffy - about 14 minutes.  So, I always set a timer.  At 14 minutes I assume they are light and fluffy.  I'm not a great cook - I don't know what light and fluffy means in terms of egg yolks.  But, then grandma added, "when you think they are done, beat them 5 minutes longer."  After having made this four years now, I made the executive decision that "light and fluffy" happened around 9 minutes, I added on the extra 5, and beat them a total of around 15 minutes.

It's kind of a pancake consistency at this point.  But then you have to add 1/2 cup sugar...

And beat some more.  My feet were tired at this point.  I think I could have read at least 20 pages in my "Gone With the Wind" book I'm reading.

Now it's the consistency of a pretty thick pancake batter.  That pancake would require a lot of milk to choke it down.

Set that bowl aside.  Clean off the whisks because they are going back into use.  Another note from grandma was that when you washed off whisks, they had to be ABSOLUTELY dry before whipping eggs whites.  If there is even a bit of moisture, your egg whites won't turn out.  She stressed this quite a bit.  I'm a little manic about getting those whisks dry now.

With the absolutely dry whisks, you are going to beat the egg whites until stiff.  About 6 minutes.  My 13+ year old mixer needed about 7 minutes.  (Another 8-9 pages I could have read by now...)

Set those aside.  Clean off your whisks.  Again.  Or just buy some extra pairs to have on hand for such occasions as this.

Beat 2 quarts of heavy whipping cream just a little.  You don't want to actually make whipped cream, just get the cream a little thicker.

Put aside the mixer.  You are done using it.  Or just throw the whisks in the sink with a hearty, "Good riddance!"  At this point you can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Mike also came up from work and asked if he could help out.  I told him he could make dinner.  It was a new recipe for country-fried steak.  He wasn't sure if he wanted to pick that or more mixing.  He chose dinner.  I didn't tell him the mixing part was over.  Bwa-ha-ha.

I took this with a large flash and caught him a little off guard.  He said, "Are you trying to blind me?!?"

I got back to work.

Next I added 1 quart of "fresh" milk and my extra-whipped heavy whipping cream to the yolks.  This is stirred in with a spatula.

No pictures.  I cannot stir and pour and snap photos.  I'm amazing but not that good.

Afterward come the big guns:

"Howdy, Mr. Beam!"

"Bonjour, Monsieur Courvoisier!"

This recipe requires one quart of each of these bad boys.  And grandma was very specific on using these brands.  She said we could use whatever, but this is what she's always used; and the better your alcohol, the better your eggnog will turn out.

Grandma's words.  Not mine.

The other part is that these have to be added to the yolk/milk mix very slowly or the alcohol will curdle the eggs.  Grandma told me that she and grandpa used to argue over how fast to add the alcohol.  The first time we made this, Mike and I were at odds on timing as well.  I prefer an I.V. drip style and Mike likes to pour and wait - pour and wait.  We've met somewhere in the middle over the last few years.

However, this year I was at it alone.  Mike's fingers were full of flour and egg for dinner.  Bwa-ha-ha.

Adding these probably took exceedingly long because I reverted to the I.V. drip method.  The thought of scrambled eggs in my nog just frightens me.

At this point it is very easy to start feeling a little light-headed.  Beam and Courvoisier are some potent liquors.  Maddie walked in and asked what I was making.  She was excited when she found out it was eggnog (a real treat at the holidays).  Then she asked what I was pouring into it and I replied, "Brandy and Whiskey."  Her eyes got huge and my little teetotaler said, "That's...alcohol!"  And that's when we broke it to her that she would not be drinking this eggnog.  And then she got a little indignant and said, "I can't BELIEVE you are wasting perfectly good eggnog!"  I told her that without this addition it wouldn't be perfectly good eggnog, it would be egg.  And it certainly wasn't going to waste.

She left.

Then I added the 2 ounces of Jamaican Rum.  My grandma said, "This is for flavor."  I'm not sure I've ever been able to taste the actual rum part.  Two ounces compared to two quarts of the other stuff...she also didn't give us a specific brand so we assume all Jamaican Rum is equal.

Home stretch!

At this point Mike taste-tested for me.  Not a very flattering picture of him - poor guy - he cannot catch a break with my camera tonight!  We had him taste-test because I had to play for a church service after this.  It was likely I was going to show up already smelling like I'd just left a bar; we didn't think we should add to that picture.

Next I gently folded in half the egg whites...

Then I took the other half of egg whites and spread them across the top.

Everything was covered with tinfoil and placed in the fridge to be kept as cold as possible until it gets drank.



Certainly not dranken.


Definitely not wasted.


Sue H said...

Kerry, I feel a little tipsy just reading this post! Bwa-ha-ha!!! You made me laugh this morning...

Missy said...

Sounds like it was a party favor oops meant flavor of the night. How was the eggnog?