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Recipe File

Cooked Egg Nog

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Egg nog is a classic, rich beverage served at Christmastime. There are many variations out there that range from alcohol-free to practically hard liquor with some creamy flavoring, but most egg nogs have one thing in common: raw eggs. Even if you closely examine the eggs for cracks and wash them before cracking them open, consuming raw eggs presents a slight health risk - a risk magnified if you or your guests have weakened immune systems or are pregnant. Here's a recipe that cooks the eggs first to help reduce the risk even further.

Start by assembling six large eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 quart whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg.

Even though we will be cooking the eggs, we won't be holding the eggs at a high temperature for very long. Be sure to check you eggs for any cracks or blemishes and wash them before cracking them. In fact, you should do this for any egg you plan on eating and throw away any eggs that seem questionable to you.

Crack the eggs into a medium saucepan. Beat with the sugar until the color of the egg lightens.

Add about two cups of milk and cook over low heat while stirring constantly.

When the mixture (which is really just a simple custard) starts to thicken up a bit and is able to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.

Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be around 160°F and the resting period will help give time to kill off a lot of the unwanted bacteria (but not all because of the relatively low heat and short waiting time). Five minutes isn't long enough for the temperature to drop low enough for the bacteria to find the conditions favorable for reproduction.

Add the remaining milk to the mixture and stir in the vanilla extract and nutmeg.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Serve cold within 24 hours.


Cooked Egg Nog (serves 8)
6 large eggswashbeatcook over low heat while stirring until 160°Frest 5 min.stirchill at least 4 hours
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

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Written by Michael Chu
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30 comments on Cooked Egg Nog:(Post a comment)

On December 20, 2005 at 07:45 PM, foodscigeek said...
Subject: Texture
Michael,

How does the texture compare to a raw egg nog? What I like about the real deal compared to the pasteurized stuff you buy in the milk carton is that it is light and fluffy not thick. How much of the protein are you denaturing in the cooking process?


On December 20, 2005 at 08:53 PM, the_bleachman said...
I'll give this a try, the egg nog we can buy down here has all been thickened with methylcellulose and leaves that slimy feeling on my mustache that just drives me crazy. Your recipe sounds good.


On December 21, 2005 at 03:37 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: 1 or 2 quarts?
The recipe says to gather 1 quart of milk... but then it says you need 8 quarts in the recipe... which is right?


On December 21, 2005 at 03:46 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: oops
I mean it says 1 quart but uses 8 cups. Guess i need to register on this forum haha


On December 21, 2005 at 07:40 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: oops
Anonymous wrote:
I mean it says 1 quart but uses 8 cups. Guess i need to register on this forum haha

Uh oh. I meant to write 2 cups and 2 cups instead of 2 cups and 6 cups.

I've fixed the recipe / article.

I hope not too many people made it with the incorrect recipe - It'll probably taste good but not as thick. Maybe I'll try it with 2 quarts and see which is better...


On December 21, 2005 at 04:44 PM, Airsucker (guest) said...
Subject: Substitution
How do you think it would turn out with Land O Lakes fat free half n half instead of whole milk? I'd like to cut the fat content. ( I do prefer the thinner fat free nogs over the uber-thick whole fat nogs anyway.)


On December 21, 2005 at 06:30 PM, john (guest) said...
Subject: pasteurized eggs?
Have you tried using pasteurized eggs? Any suggestions?

Love the site, btw.


On December 21, 2005 at 10:03 PM, the_bleachman said...
I made this last night and it turned out quite good. Just be careful to heat really slowly so the egg and sugar cooking stage doesn't form lumps (although any lumps that form tend to be very tasty).

It is also much more economical then the ready made kind. Considering the 10 servings mentioned in the recipe the cost comes out close to 0.185 per serving. This doesn't include labor but since slave labor will probably be used that cost is minimal. :)


On December 22, 2005 at 02:36 AM, LAN3 (guest) said...
Subject: Alternate method
Alton Brown's Good Eats recipe recommends separating the eggs prior to making the custard, making the custard with the yolks, and then just before serving, whip up the whites with a small amount (1 tablespoon for 6 whites, or something) of sugar, which is then folded into the custard.

Also, he made the same recipe, more or less, both cooked and uncooked, and revealed that the cooked version was thicker, though not intolerably so, and that was the major difference. In the case of cooking the custard, he used pasturized egg whites that he whipped up, instead of the raw whites that he had separated-- you can save those for another application in which they can be cooked.

A reasonable compromise between cooking and raw might be to coddle the eggs, which is to boil them for a very short time, 60 seconds, 90 at most, and then put them in ice-water to stop the cooking. The egg-white will cook only in the exterior parts, leaving a liquid white and intact yolk in the center, and the outer part of the egg, at least, bacteria free. If the bacteria have moved into the yolk, well, that's the (reduced) risk you take. You'll need some supplementary whites to make up the loss, so you'll still want to get your pasturized whites.


On December 23, 2005 at 09:14 AM, *morningstar said...
I was wondering why it came out so thin. I made the recipe with the 2 and 6 that was originally posted. I'll try it again with the proper 2 and 2 and see how it comes out, because it does have a pleasant flavor. It's just too thin for my taste. However, it's still really good in coffee as a replacement for milk, so it's not a total loss.


On December 26, 2005 at 12:42 AM, Michael Chu said...
*morningstar wrote:
I was wondering why it came out so thin. I made the recipe with the 2 and 6 that was originally posted. I'll try it again with the proper 2 and 2 and see how it comes out, because it does have a pleasant flavor. It's just too thin for my taste. However, it's still really good in coffee as a replacement for milk, so it's not a total loss.

I'm really sorry about that!


On December 26, 2005 at 03:42 PM, *morningstar said...
Michael Chu wrote:
*morningstar wrote:
I was wondering why it came out so thin. I made the recipe with the 2 and 6 that was originally posted. I'll try it again with the proper 2 and 2 and see how it comes out, because it does have a pleasant flavor. It's just too thin for my taste. However, it's still really good in coffee as a replacement for milk, so it's not a total loss.

I'm really sorry about that!


Hey, don't worry about it :) It was fun to make and I really enjoy the recipes on your site - your pumpkin pie one yields the best pie out of all the ones I've tried. I fully plan on trying this egg nog one again as soon as I get some more whole milk.


On December 30, 2005 at 10:56 PM, GUEST (guest) said...
Subject: Egg nog
I make egg nog the old way with uncooked egg yolks and enough bourbon and brandy and honey to kill any organisms. Alton Brown said in his show on egg nog that he prefers the taste of the uncooked version, and suggested using pasteurized eggs. I couldn't find these this year. But my recipe starts with 12 fresh organic egg yolks creamed with 1 1/2 cups honey, which would kill a fair no. of organisms on its own, and then you add 3/4 cup bourbon and 1/2 cup brandy to the mix. Wouldn't that finish off the rest? Any microbiologists out there?

Renee


On January 01, 2006 at 07:21 AM, LAN3 (guest) said...
While the alcohol must help, I don't think honey would have much of an effect in killing bacteria-- it's true that bacteria can't survive in honey, but it's for the same reason that most bacteria can't survive when you make beef jerky-- the environments pull the moisture out. Adding loads of a water-based liquid will probably negate honey's bacteria-killing effect.

As for the liquor-- I think that it would do a good job as you are adding it directly to the egg/sugar (or rather, egg/honey) mixture-- the alcohol and its effects won't be horribly diluted as compared to adding it later. Also, check Alton's advice again: he used pasturized egg whites, which are much more common, I'd think, than pasturized eggs (I have the idea there are such a thing, but I'm not so sure).

I'm no microbiologist, but common sense says that you should figure out your own risk level while account for the fact that you have (or, being an ill person, an older person, or a very young person, do not have) an immune system which is just the thing for taking care of rogue bacteria in eggs. Do what you can, and let your body take care of the rest; worst cast for most people would be a bad case of what Alton calls "tummy music."


On January 06, 2006 at 09:44 PM, ktexp2 said...
In this case, I think we are pastuerizing the eggs! Sort of. The practice of bringing the mixture up to 160 degrees F for a few minutes then cooling almost immediately after. I used to do this every morning and evening to a large pot of goat's milk!

As for raw eggs, I have been eating raw cookie dough and cake batter for as long as I remember. Never seemed to bother me. I still do it, although I always think about it afterwards. Never really thought about when I was younger, but then again, we had chickens who laid eggs for us so we knew they were healthy.

As for alcohol, didn't someone come out with a study that ethanol actually promotes bacterial growth?


On January 09, 2006 at 08:22 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Best Before Date
It says on the recipe that the eggnog should be served within 24 hours of making it. Is this a time frame that should be followed closely or mearly a suggestion if you want to drink fresh eggnog. Is there any way to make the drink keep longer because I would be making it for only myself and I would not want to consume it all in a single day.


Thanks, nm


On January 10, 2006 at 01:30 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Best Before Date
Guest wrote:
It says on the recipe that the eggnog should be served within 24 hours of making it. Is this a time frame that should be followed closely or mearly a suggestion if you want to drink fresh eggnog. Is there any way to make the drink keep longer because I would be making it for only myself and I would not want to consume it all in a single day.

I would suggest making the recipe in smaller quantities - it is a bit harder to do because there's so little substance, but you are using barely cooked eggs. I would consume it within the first two days even so.


On January 19, 2006 at 11:05 PM, elle (guest) said...
Subject: Cleaning your eggs...
Just an FYI...

I'm in veterinary school and we recently in a class that discussed egg production. I was interested to find that washing your eggs with water is not the best way to clean your eggs. In washing eggs with water (cold/warm/ whatever), it actually allows the toxins and bacteria on the outside of the egg to diffuse INTO the egg itself! Basically, by washing the egg you are contaminating the egg even more.

Thus the question, how DO you clean a dirty egg?

Use fine sandpaper and buff the outside of the egg to remove any foreign material, and then wipe off with a dry cloth. Your egg is now ready to use.

Just thought I'd pass this along to fellow science-minded people. Pass it along! :)


On January 30, 2006 at 06:14 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Light and Fluffy eggnog
I'm a fan of light and fluffy eggnogs, rather than the more milky concoctions like this or the store-bought stuff. AB's eggnog recipe is closer to the one I use, but where he stirs in the merangue, I fold. Also, he adds the heavy cream directly to the custard, while I whip and fold that as well. I got this recipe from my mom, and all of my friends have loved it. It turns out very thick, light, and fluffy, but since that's what I grew up with, that's what I expect eggnog to be. Very rich, like drinking a slice of pie.


Key differences:

* The milk is scalded first, and the eggs are tempered into it (avoids curdling the egg this way. Run the custard through a strainer once it's cooked to get rid of any egg that may have curdled.
* Egg whites are whipped into merangue and folded in
* Cream is whipped stiff and folded in

I also like to split and scrape a vanilla bean while cooking the custard, and straining will help you easily retrieve the bean when you're done. If I'm making it hard, I'll put the whiskey or brandy into the custard base before folding in the merangue and cream, so that the alcohol gets suspended in the foam rather than sinking to the bottom of the cup. Finally, don't forget the fresh nutmeg (not the pre-ground canned stuff, please!)


On December 21, 2006 at 02:31 AM, tomophonic (guest) said...
Subject: adding alcohol
I've been making various raw and cooked eggnogs for a long time. Here's one rule I follow: add the alcohol shortly before drinking your nog; if you make more than you're going to serve that night, store it without the booze.

I may be mistaken, but I swear I've cooked my eggs in alcohol while they sat in the fridge, so stopped pouring the liquor into the batch. Besides, some folks prefer bourbon, some cognac, some rum ... one friend of mine likes to use Amaretto. (That's a real sweet tooth.) And some will want no alcohol at all - I make my nog with beaten whites and whipped cream, so I thin the "virgin" nogs with a little milk.


On January 04, 2007 at 02:52 AM, christenmu (guest) said...
Subject: A suggestion for recipes that calls for raw eggs
Use either a double boiler or you can also use a stainless steel bowl place on top of a boiling pan, beat the eggs and a small amount of milk or cream to avoid curdling. When the eggs mixture started to thicken, remove from the double boiler or boiling water.


On December 21, 2007 at 10:21 PM, devalinas (guest) said...
How about using pasteurized eggs? they are just a wee bit more expensive. And considering you make this once a year as a seasonal dish.
Also, perhaps a bit of rum can be whisked in at the end for flavor?


On February 11, 2008 at 10:00 PM, Asphyx (guest) said...
Subject: Washing eggs
Just wanted to say that washing the eggs isn't good. The shell is poreus, if your eggs ever get wet, you pretty much wanna use them right away or just toss em out.


On December 23, 2008 at 07:57 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: more evidence that egg nog goes better with booze
according to this video the alcohol content of finished egg nog is around 20 percent which was to high for typical bacteria to thrive.
however they did purposely contaminate the sample, with salmonella an enteric bacteria which causes food poisoning, the salmonella was able to thrive in both the homemade eggnog and the store bought.
still put my mind to rest further testing is needed but the alcohol does kill most of the bacteria.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98499891&ft=1&f=1007


On December 24, 2008 at 06:53 PM, John (guest) said...
Subject: Runny
My batch came out very runny, even after lengthy refrigeration. I used two cups and two cups, followed the instructions to the letter. Anyone else have this problem? Would it be better to use half cream and half milk?


On December 27, 2008 at 05:46 AM, Howard said...
I whisked the first mixture in a double boiler until it hit about 160F and the whole thing was a scrambled mess :( Had to pour it all out.

Guess I'll have to do it again with the spoon method.


On November 19, 2009 at 01:15 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: salmonella in eggs
It used to be that eggs got contaminated with salmonella on the outside, from contact with fecal bacteria. If you've raised laying hens you know that they have one 'vent' through which both waste and eggs emerge. In the past several years, the salmonella enteritidis strain has been found inside intact, disinfected, grade A eggs. This type of germ contaminates eggs inside a hen's ovaries, before shells are even formed. It's a very small proportion of the eggs sold in the US, but at least be informed.
Since it's that time of year coming up, I thought people should be aware.


On December 26, 2010 at 11:00 PM, BeachBoz (guest) said...
Subject: Sit for 2-3 weeks
There have been some scientists who've tackled the safety of drinking eggnog and the petri dishes have shown that all salmonella will disappear sometime between 2 and 3 weeks in the fridge. See the video here: http://www.sciencefriday.com/videos/watch/10262.


On June 12, 2011 at 04:17 PM, moiaussi47 said...
Subject: recipe chart
so happy I found you and to have a safe egg nog recipe!

just have to say, I may not be an engineer but does Capricorn count 'cause I love and appreciate the chart of the recipe! thanks.


On November 07, 2011 at 12:36 AM, joannetravels (guest) said...
Subject: lumps from cooking the egg mixture
To avoid lumps, try cooking the custard in a double boiler.

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