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Makes 16 4-ounce servings
Though many eggnogs use raw eggs, this one is based on classic crème anglaise, so the eggs are cooked. After you make this base, the variety of liquor, the spices, and the consistency are up to you. I like my eggnog rich, thick, and spicy. For a nonalcoholic version, simply eliminate the liquor and add a little more milk or cream to get the desired consistency.
For the Crème Anglaise:
For the Nog:
To prepare the crème anglaise, have ready a large bowl full of ice. You’ll also need a double boiler. (Instead, you can use a medium-large saucepan and a heatproof bowl that fits in the saucepan without touching the bottom and whose edges hang over the edges of the saucepan.)
Place the milk in a saucepan over high heat. As soon as it begins to boil, stir briskly and remove from the heat. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the double boiler, add just enough water so that the top half of the double boiler does not touch the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
In the top of the double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hot milk.
Cook the mixture over, not in, the simmering water, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the double boiler top from the heat and set it in the bowl of ice for 5 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally. Add the vanilla and stir.
To prepare the eggnog, in a large bowl, combine the crème anglaise with the milk, cream, cinnamon, cloves, rum, bourbon, and brandy.
Taste, adding as much confectioners’ sugar as you wish for a sweeter nog.
Transfer the eggnog to the punch bowl and sprinkle nutmeg and orange zest over it, if desired.
Chill for an hour or serve at room temperature.
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