You'll Need:6 eggs at room temperature, separated*
3/4 cup sugar (for the yolks)
6 Tablespoons sugar (for the whites)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (use the good stuff, and/or make your own)
fresh grated nutmeg
3 cups whipping cream, chilled
2 cups whole milk
large bowl (~ gallon-sized)
zester/grater (if using fresh nutmeg)
mixer hand or stand type
* Yes, I'm using raw eggs. If you want to be paranoid, wash the shells before cracking the eggs; there's only a 1:20,000 chance of salmonella inside the egg. But you probably still shouldn't drink raw eggnog if you're immune system is compromised. And if you've ever eaten raw cookie dough, quit worrying and try the eggnog!
Directions:1. Separate the eggs. Put the yolks in your big bowl, the whites in the electric mixer bowl. Make sure the bowl is clean and dry, with no oil residue - grease of any sort can interfere with proper egg white whipping.
2. Mix the yolks vigorously with the wire whisk for about a minute - they will turn much lighter yellow.
Whisk in 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, whisking steadily. Grate in a bit of nutmeg (gently - you can always add more later, and fresh nutmeg can be powerful), then add 3 cups cream and 2 cups milk (and the booze, if you're using it) and whisk a bit more. Everything should be thoroughly incorporated.
3. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks - this is exactly why we have robots in the kitchen. (It will take ~3-5 minutes, even longer if you're crazy enough to try whisking it by hand. Add 6T sugar, one tablespoon at a time, as the mixer runs. Continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks, but still looks moist (another 2-4 minutes). See the last picture to see how stiff the mixture is as I scoop it out of the mixing bowl.
4. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/cream mixture with a spatula. Scrape the egg whites out of the bowl with your rubber spatula, and use a gentle sweeping motion to incorporate the whites to save all the air you just beat into them. (If you whisk them in all of that nice fluffiness will be lost.) You should still have some small blobs of unincorporated eggwhite (see last picture), and if the mixture is allowed to sit it will separate.
5. Ladle out the eggnog into your fancy cups, and top with a bit more freshly grated nutmeg. If the eggnog has separated, give it a quick (gentle!) stir before serving. Don't let the eggnog sit out too long - even if it does have alcohol, refrigerate to avoid spoilage. I've never had this problem: we always drink it so fast there's nothing left to worry about!
For single-serving size:
2 Tablespoons sugar (for the yolk)
1 Tablespoon sugar (for the white)
a drop of vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
Tis the season for all things delicious!