Once Thanksgiving Day is over, I always get excited about two things, holiday decorations and eggnog. Normally I would buy a carton of eggnog from the market, but this year as I reached for the store bought brand it occurred to me... I have never had homemade eggnog! I started to look up recipes and was disappointed with what I found. I wanted eggnog that would be remarkably different from processed store brands.
What I found was that many recipes use raw eggs but that is as far as they go. With this in mind I decided to make my eggnog as raw, fresh and local as it could get. I used raw eggs of course, but I also used raw sweetener, and my favorite ingredients of all raw dairy products (milk and cream). The only thing that could not be raw was the bourbon. After researching a number of recipes, I decided to make my own concoction. In the end, my eggnog turned out just as I had hoped and was a big hit with my family.
My ingredient list was as follows:
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites (make sure there is absolutely no egg yolks in the whites)
2 cups whole raw milk
1 cup heavy raw cream
6 oz bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup agave plus 1 tablespoon agave
For the eggs, I choose a local and organic brand. The more locally produced the eggs are, the fresher the eggs will probably be, which will most likely result in better tasting eggnog. I would also like to add that the safety of consuming raw eggs is highly debatable. I don't claim that they wont give you salmonella, but I was raised in a family that consumes raw eggs occasionally and has never had a problem. If you have a compromised immune system, or you are a very young or very elderly person, you should not eat raw eggs. I am not a scientist, so I won't claim that they wont make you sick, but for many others and myself, eating raw eggs works fine.
When it comes to dairy ingredients, I absolutely love raw organic dairy products. They taste amazing and also maintain a high amount of the good bacteria your body needs to absorb the protein and lactose. Lucky for us living in the Bay Area, it is easy to find raw organic dairy products in many natural food stores in Northern California.
For a sweetener, I used Agave nectar. Unlike honey, agave nectar is flavorless, which makes it great to add to your drinks when you don't want that honey taste to overpower the other ingredients. Agave also absorbs in cold liquids and is a low-glycemic sweetener. Currently there are no regulations for labeling sweeteners as raw, which causes all kinds of debates. Most agave nectar brands are labeled as raw, but some people consider agave nectar to be a processed sweetener since it is brought up to a temperature of anywhere between 118-140 degrees. As far as options for sweetening your eggnog go, agave is pretty minimally processed compared to most sweeteners.
My eggnog preparation went something like this:
Whisk the egg yolks until they start to thicken and lighten in color. Then gradually add in the 1/3 cups of agave while still whisking. Once the sugar is completely dissolved gradually add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl and with a different whisk start by whipping the egg whites slowly for a minute and then gradually work up to a faster speed until you start to see soft peaks. Then slowly add the tablespoon of agave and whisk at a high speed until the consistency produces stiff peaks.
Then whisk the egg whites into the mixture.
Chill and serve!