Unless you’re American, eggnog is a hard sell. Kissing raw egg, albeit sweetened and mixed with cream, is something you can probably only do if you were raised in a very specific culture (or if you’re on an absurd protein kick). Things get even less appealing when it comes to alcohol, as eggnog often comes spiked with a certain amount of brown liquor, because then it becomes a hellish hybrid of alcohol and hangover cure rolled into one. But maybe the nog newcomers are coming in too hot. After all, what is eggnog but some strange kind of custard? And what is custard, if not a woefully underused recipe ingredient? That’s right: forget about drinking eggnog. This year I want you to eat it. And that’s how.
Eggnog Creme Brulee Cheesecake
I already mentioned Liam Charles’ Eggnog Creme Brulee Cheesecake, but I’m going to repeat it because it deserves as much attention as possible. Of course, eggnog belongs in a cheesecake: it’s cream and eggs, which will always bake perfectly, and the nutmeg here automatically makes it extra Christmassy. It’s a very subtle effect: you could easily serve this to a detractor of nog and they wouldn’t notice.
‘What is eggnog but some strange type of flan? …’ Photograph: Weedezign/Getty Images/iStockphoto
eggnog ice cream
What else can you do with custard? That’s right, freeze it into an ice cream sundae. Taste of Home No-Churn Eggnog Soft Ice Cream is not only delicious, but the easiest thing in the world to make. You’ll need some eggnog, then mix with more cream, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then freeze overnight and you’re done. It’s worth noting that this recipe also calls for rum (alcohol, usually brandy, which is an unspoken extra to most nog recipes), but here it serves an important secondary purpose, helping the ice cream freeze smoother.
Eggnog French Toast
‘If you know how to make French toast, you know how to make this recipe’… Photo: JMichl/Getty Images
By now you’ve fallen under the nog spell, so you might as well go all out and start making it for breakfast. We’ll start off semi-conservatively with Yummly’s recipe for French Toast with Eggnog. If you know how to make French toast, you already know how to do this; the only difference is that you soak the bread in eggnog before cooking. Easy.
The French toast was just an entree recipe. Because, as soon as the idea of breakfast punch is no longer abominable, you can move on to the real test: eggnog porridge. The recipe for A Taste of Madness is as quick and easy as you want it to be: put some eggnog in a pan, add porridge, heat until thick, and Bob is your uncle. It’s delicious? Yes. Does it contain alcohol? No, because you haven’t reached that personal minimum yet. Can you look at your face while you eat it? That is another matter entirely.
Sweet potato tart with eggnog
One more stranger and then I’ll guide us back to safer territory. You already have an opinion on sweet potato pie (which is either “That sounds normal” or “My God, why do you hate me?” depending on how American you are), but the New York Times recipe for sweet potato pie with Eggnog is actually worth a punt. Believe it or not, the two ingredients work incredibly well together. You do not believe me? Good.
Caramel Eggnog Brownie
The LA Times has a recipe for Caramel Eggnog Brownies, and I can tell you’re back. This one is actually a bit tricky: you basically just make some regular brownies, then make a caramel sauce out of all the constituent ingredients of the eggnog, but in all honesty, that probably just makes it better. Plus there’s rum! My guess is, if you make any of these recipes, it will be this one.
You can also use your punch for cookies, as Preppy Kitchen’s Eggnog Cookie Recipe amply demonstrates. Especially since it turns out that an eggnog cookie is (as far as cookie recipes go) relatively parsimonious. Not chocolate. No massive chunks of fudge. Just a nice lightly spiced vanilla cookie, like your mom used to make.
Eggnog preparation… Photo: GMVozd/Getty Images
Eggnog Bread Pudding
I’m aware that The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Eggnog Bread Pudding is basically a slightly sweeter version of the Eggnog French Toast above, but I’m sticking with it, because soaking the bread in custard and then cooking it It could become the greatest invention of mankind. This is it, more raisins.
Rum and Eggnog Bundt Cake
Of course, you can definitely make a cake with eggnog. My recommendation will always be for a bundt here; partly because they adapt well to extra moisture, but mainly because bundts are inherently Christmassy. Liv for Cake’s Rum and Eggnog Packet recipe is exactly what it sounds like: a delicious vanilla spice cake. You’ll want to take this out of the oven just before your guests arrive for maximum impact.
Finally, let’s reach our hands across the ocean once and for all, uniting the weirdest American drink with the weirdest British pudding. That’s right, it’s an Australian boozy eggnog trifle recipe, courtesy of My Food Book. Eggnog works brilliantly here because (as you may already know), it’s basically custard, so it sits perfectly with the fruit and cream. However, there is no jelly here. Please don’t write letters, I know how you get.