Cheers for eggnog Old-time favorite can add new flavor to holiday dishes

December 16, 1998|By Kathy Casey | Kathy Casey,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

You know the holidays are here when eggnog starts flowing. '' Velvety smooth and rich with eggs, cream and nutmeg, served cold, "straight up," over ice or with a splash of rum or brandy, it puts the holiday cheer into any gathering.

Because the eggnog flavor is so popular but somewhat limited in what's to be done with it, I thought it would be fun to create some different recipes using this old-time favorite.

Nowadays, there are several different varieties available during the season, with most dairies offering "ultra" or "gourmet" eggnog and a nonfat or low-fat version as well as their standard product. Be sure to use a quality brand.

If you're a real devotee, you'll be pleased to learn that eggnog can be frozen in its original carton for up to a year. The ice crystals formed will cause the texture to appear "broken." To minimize this effect, thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use as a recipe ingredient or whip up in the blender for a beverage.

So here goes for some exciting ways to add eggnog to your holiday menus.

After a big festive dinner, even the thought of dessert can be too much, but how about whipping up a couple of light and fluffy eggnog chiffon pies for an airy, sweet ending?

If the hectic holidays call for a simple or do-ahead menu for your gang, then the eggnog panna cotta with spiced cranberry compote is just the thing - a soothing custard dolloped with a bright and perky, quick-cooking cranberry compote. So easy. And you can make all the components up to three days ahead, then just assemble quickly right before serving.

If old-fashioned bread pudding sounds more your style, then how about making it with eggnog instead of cream? For my eggnog bread pudding recipe, I made my bread-soaking custard out of )) high-quality, store-bought eggnog and added a touch more nutmeg and a splash of rum. It's great baked a day ahead and then reheated. I serve it drizzled with rum caramel, another quickie to prepare. Just stir a good dark rum into a high-quality, purchased caramel sauce. It's easy and delicious.

And what would an eggnog story be without a good old sipping recipe? You can make the batter for this winter warmer and store it frozen for up to a month to have on hand for unexpected guests. Hot buttered eggnog is good and indulgent, with way too much butter, brown sugar, ice cream, spices and brandy, but it's worth every indulgent calorie.

Hot Buttered Eggnog

Serves 1

3 tablespoons eggnog buttered brandy mix (recipe at right)

1 ounce brandy (or rum)

5 ounces boiling water

ground nutmeg

Place eggnog buttered brandy mix and brandy in coffee glass or mug. Stir in boiling water until batter is dissolved. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Eggnog Bread Pudding With Rum Caramel

Serves 6 to 8


8 cups packed 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubed rustic baguette or French bread

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup currants

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

4 large eggs

2 3/4 cups high-quality eggnog (not fat-free)

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup dark rum

whipped cream for garnish, optional


1 cup high-quality purchased caramel sauce

2 tablespoons dark rum

To prepare bread pudding, place bread in large bowl and drizzle with melted butter. Toss in currants and dried cranberries.

In another bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs, eggnog, nutmeg and rum until well combined. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and stir gently. Let stand at least 30 minutes, frequently pressing bread down into egg mixture and stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Transfer mixture to 7-inch-by-11-inch or 9-inch square glass baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until center is just barely set and inserted knife comes out clean, 40 minutes.

To prepare rum caramel, in small bowl, whisk together caramel ** sauce and rum.

Serve pudding warm with rum caramel and dollops of whipped cream, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate and serve cold.

If made day before, remove bread pudding from refrigerator two hours before reheating. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Eggnog Buttered Brandy Mix

Makes about 7 cups or 36 servings

1/2 pound butter (two sticks), softened

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 pint high-quality vanilla ice cream

1 cup high-quality eggnog

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon rum extract

Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl until totally smooth. Add ice cream, eggnog, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon and rum extract and mix until thoroughly combined. Store refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 1 month.

Eggnog Panna Cotta With Spiced Cranberry Compote


1/3 cup pecan pieces

1 cup high-quality eggnog

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water


1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup sugar

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