Category Archives: Eggs

Simmering Eggs in their Shell

 

Hard-cooked eggsCooking an egg in its shell is proverbially simple.  You drop the egg in hot water, set a timer, then remove the egg.  That’s it.  Commercial eggs are so uniform in size and shape that we can rely on the cooking times dictated by cookbooks.  This is a very unique situation, as usually cooking times in cook books are completely useless.  For instance, the time required to cook a piece of meat will vary wildly depending on the specific oven, stove, or grill being used.

The ideal characteristics of a hard-cooked egg:

  • Firm-but-tender white.
  • A set yolk.  The exact texture can be anywhere between soft and gel-like, and firm and granular, depending on the application.
  • Some say that a centred yolk is important.  I disagree.
  • Smooth exterior after peeling.  This is more important for some applications than others.  Who cares what the exterior looks like if the eggs are destined to be chopped and put in a sandwich?  Mostly we are concerned with the ease of peeling, which we’ll discuss below.

Cold-Start vs. Hot-Start.  There are two methods for cooking eggs in their shells: cold-start and hot-start.  For cold-start you put the eggs in a pot, cover with cold water, and fire up the stove.  As soon as the water reaches a simmer, you reduce the heat to maintain that simmer, then set the timer.  For hot-start you add the eggs directly to gently simmering water and set the timer.  The alleged benefit of the cold-start method is that it is gentler on the eggs and reduces incidents of cracking.  A quick online search shows that cold-start is the more popular method.  I always use hot-start.  It seems more precise to me.  (When does a simmer really start?  With the first bubble?  With sustained bubbling?  These are the philosophical questions raised by the cold-start method.)

Water Temperature.  In recent years culinary-types have stopped referring to this method of egg cookery as “hard-boiling”, because the water is not really supposed to be boiling, but rather simmering gently.  This is part of a broader linguistic movement that favours precise, literal words at the expense of traditional, colourful descriptors.  Full-on boiling would jostle the eggs and increase the chances of cracking the shells.  The higher heat might also over-cook the outermost white, making it rubbery and sulfurous.  So yes, a gentle simmer is key.

If you screw up hard-cooking an egg, it will be because your water temperature wasn’t correct.  As a fail safe you can use a thermometer to measure the water temperature before adding your eggs.  It should be about 85°C.

Simmering Times for Hot-Start Method.

  • soft-cooked: 6 minutes
  • medium-cooked: 8 minutes
  • hard-cooked, with gel-like yolk: 10 minutes
  • hard-cooked, with pale, granular yolk: 15 minutes.

Most recipes suggest you remove the eggs to an ice bath to arrest cooking.  Simple cold water works fine.

A fresh hard-cooked egg with pock marks, next to an old hard-cooked egg with a perfectly smooth surface.Peeling.  Folks like to complain about how frustrating it is to peel hard-boiled eggs.  If you use eggs are are a week or more old, the shells will slip off easily, leaving a perfectly smooth, glistening white.

Don’t hard-boil fresh eggs.  Or if you do, don’t whine about how hard they are to peel.  It’s like grilling a beef shank and then complaining that it’s tough: if you had a beef shank, you should have stewed it.

What to do with hard eggs:

  • Mostly you should just eat them.
  • Chop or slice them and put them in salads.  Potato salads, for instance.
  • Chop them and make egg salad.  I’m hard-pressed to think of a preparation that is further from vogue than egg salad.  One day at Elm Café I made a dozen delicious egg salad sandwiches, spiked with raw red onion and celery and peppery mayonnaise, and we literally did not sell a single one.
  • Make devilled eggs, which have experienced a very modest renaissance in recent years.  Post forthcoming.
  • Make pickled eggs.  Post forthcoming.
  • Make sauce gribiche.  Post forthcoming.

Potato salad with hard-cooked egg.

Intro to Eggs

A carton of eggsEggs are the single most versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

Think about the many diverse preparations that are based on eggs.  Of course there are scrambled, fried, poached, coddled, shirred, hard-cooked, devilled, and pickled eggs, and yes there are omelettes and flans and frittatas, but there are also custards like crème brûlée and crème caramel, ice cream, sauces like mayonnaise and hollandaise, and sweets like meringue and angel food cake.  Eggs are endlessly mutable because they contain two of the most fundamental building blocks of food – protein and fat – in relatively concentrated, isolated forms, in the whites and yolk respectively.

This post covers some fundamental egg info.  Subsequent posts will discuss specific preparations and techniques.

 

How a Chicken Makes an Egg

These are my own words, but I learned every detail in this section from the egg chapter of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, which is some of the most inspired food writing I’ve ever read.

A chicken at Tipi Creek near Villeneuve, AlbertaThe eggs in our kitchen begin as single, living, germ cells in a hen’s ovary.  Believe it or not, you can usually see this single cell when you crack an egg: it is a tiny white disc floating on top of the yolk.

As the hen matures, each germ cell gets coated with a white, primordial yolk.  Once the hens reach laying age, around 4-6 months, these germ cells will start to emerge one by one from the ovary surrounded by full-fledged yolks.

Red Spots on Egg Yolks.  As a bit of a tangent, the red spot that sometimes appears on yolks does not indicate that the egg has been fertilized.  It is simply the result of a small blood vessel in the ovary bursting.

The process of converting the yolk to an egg takes about 25 hours.  From the ovary, the yolk travels along the 2-3 foot long oviduct, which secretes egg white onto the yolk in four layers, alternating thick-thin-thick-thin.  The first layer of thick white is twisted by rifled grooves in the oviduct to become those little bundgy cords that keep the yolk centred in the finished egg.  These cords are called chalazae (singular chalaza).

Once the whites have been secreted onto the yolk, two anti-microbial protein membranes are formed around the whites.

After two or three hours in the oviduct, the egg passes into the uterus.  For the next five hours, the hen’s body pumps water and salts into the egg.  Then calcium carbonate and protein are secreted onto the egg to form a porous shell.  Finally a cuticle is applied, which temporarily blocks up the pores in the shell to prevent bacterial incursion.  The cuticle also gives the egg its colour, which is determined entirely by the genetics of the hen, not environmental conditions or feed.

The egg is laid blunt end first (I don’t know why I find that so interesting), and is initially the same temperature as the hen’s body.  As it cools the contents shrink, and those two anti-microbial membranes are pulled apart to form an air pocket at the blunt end of the egg.  Another adorable detail: this little pocket provides the first mouthful of air to the nascent chick hatching from the egg.

 

Buying Eggs

The conditions in intensive, industrial egg operations are appalling, so I go out of my way to purchase eggs from local farmers who give their chickens room to live and allow them to (as Joel Salatin says) express their chickenness.  At Elm we purchase about 60 dozen eggs every week from Four Whistle Farm.  Other local suppliers include Sunworks (available at the Strathcona market) and Purnima (available at Planet Organic).

Despite conventional wisdom, yolk colour alone is not sufficient to know how a laying hen has been treated.  In the height of summer, happy, healthy hens certainly produce yolks with a deep yellow-orange colour, but this can also be achieved by feeding unhappy chickens things like marigold petals.  Eggs from industrial operations often have a rich yolk colour, but I still prefer to buy from Four Whistle because I know how the chickens are kept.

 

Storing Eggs

AHS will beg to differ, but it’s not dangerous to store eggs at room temperature.  In fact throughout much of the world eggs are routinely stored at room temperature, whether in home kitchens or restaurant kitchens, or even grocery stores.  Eggs do, however, age much, much faster at room temperature than they do in the fridge.  As an egg ages water evaporates through the porous shell, making the white shrink and the air pocket grow.  The protein structures in the white also become increasingly slack.  This is most noticeable when we make fried or poached eggs.  Fresh eggs will keep a relatively compact form when cracked, while older eggs will slough and run across the griddle or poaching liquid.

The photo below shows two egg of different origins and ages: the egg on the left is from Four Whistle, and was less than a week old when the picture was taken, while the egg on the right is from Superstore, and is more than two weeks old.  First you can see the dramatic difference in yolk colour.  The thick white on the left egg is much more compact, while on the right the white has loosened and is spreading across the plate.

Two eggs of different origins and ages: on the left is a fresh egg from a local producer, on the right a two week old egg from a grocery store.

 

These I think are the most basic facts about fresh eggs.  Stay tuned for best practices on cooking and consuming…

Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream ready for the freezer.The short version of this post goes like this: remember when we made crème anglaise?  That sauce made from milk, cream, and sugar, flavoured with vanilla and thickened with egg yolks, gently cooked on a double-boiler?  If you put that sauce into a well-chilled household ice cream churn, you can make pretty good ice cream.

The long version of this post is more like this:

There are two broad styles of ice cream: Philadelphia and French.  Philly ice cream typically contains only milk, cream, and sugar, while French ice cream also contains eggs.  In fact, the crème anglaise we made last week is very, very similar to some recipes for French ice cream mix.  The only difference is that traditionally French ice cream mix would be made with whole milk, without the addition of cream.  Even so, if you throw that sauce into a well-chilled household ice cream churn, you can make pretty good ice cream.

Let’s talk about why that is.  What are the characteristics of good ice cream?  Most folks expect ice cream to be very smooth.  The only exception to this statement is Lisa Zieminek, a chick who lives in Edmonton who likes her ice cream just a little bit crystalline.  She feels that homemade ice cream lower in egg yolk that is allowed to develop a slightly icy, granular texture feels colder on the tongue and therefore more satisfying.  Homemade ice cream high in fat and egg yolk, she continues, as well as commercial ice cream with artificial emulsifiers, both feel waxy on the tongue, and somehow not very cold.  Hers is a discriminating palate in ice cream, and men.

Anyways with the exception of that one person everyone prefers ice cream to be smooth.  The key to having very smooth ice cream is to prevent the formation of large ice crystals during the freezing process.  Fat in the mixture helps in this regard, and in French ice cream the proteins and emulsifiers in the egg yolks also lend a hand.

The texture of the final ice cream is only partly a result of the ingredients themselves: the freezing process is also critical.  Actually ice cream is frozen in two-stages, called churning and hardening.

Churning.  Churning is stirring the ice cream in a tub in which the walls have been super-chilled.  Traditionally this might have been a steel bucket placed in a salted ice bath.  Nowadays you can buy cheap ice cream makers that you put in your freezer to chill thoroughly before adding your mix.

The factors that will affect the consistency of the ice cream during churning:

  • How rapidly the mixture freezes.  The faster the mixture freezes, the smaller the ice crystals, and the smoother the final ice cream.  Both the mixture and the churn need to be thoroughly pre-chilled.  Continuous stirring speeds freezing by constantly exposing new parts of the mixture to the cold walls of the churn.
  • How much air is incorporated by stirring.  Constant stirring will also incorporate lots of air and make for a smooth ice cream with a light texture.  The volume of the ice cream can actually increase dramatically with constant stirring, mostly due to the incorporation of air.  (And possibly because water expands when it freezes?)  The percent of volume increase is called the overrun in ice-cream-speak.

Churning ice cream

Hardening.  Eventually the ice cream will become stiff and hard to stir.  At this point, though, the sweet treat isn’t actually done, because much of the water content is still liquid.  The mixture is then transferred to a freezer for some “quiescent freezing”, that is, freezing without churning.  As with the churning process, faster freezing will result in smaller ice crystals and a smoother mouthfeel.  I transfer my partially-frozen ice cream to a shallow, pre-chilled container and leave it uncovered in the freezer for a few hours.  The image at the top of this post shows the ice cream at this stage.  It looks and feels a bit like soft-serve.

After hardening the ice cream should be covered tightly and stored in the coldest part of the coldest freezer available to you.  Very cold temperatures will prevent oxidation of the fats and absorption of odours from freezer-mates.  Very cold temperatures will also ensure that the ice cream doesn’t partially melt when the freezer door is opened or when it has to sit on the counter for a few minutes.  If you melt the edges of your ice cream then return it to the freezer the part that re-freezes will be very coarse and crystalline.

I am thrilled to finally have some info on ice cream on Button Soup.  It is the supreme accompaniment to many of the dishes discussed on this site, notably: pouding chômeur, sour cherry pie, pie sticks, and a special dessert that we will discuss tomorrow.

 

Burnt Cream – Crème Brûlée

Busting into a crème brûléeWhile crème brûlée is immediately identifiable by the crust of burnt sugar on top, the custard itself has a very particular consistency and flavour.  Since it is eaten out of a ramekin, it can have a much softer, moister curd that, say, crème caramel, which is unmolded on to a plate and is therefore firmer, and eggier.

In fact crème brûlée used to be even more moist than it is now.  According to Harold McGee, crème brûlée used to be completely liquid, like crème anglaise, and was poured into a very shallow dish, dusted with sugar, and burnt. Before blowtorches became the norm the burnt crust was made by taking a heavy, metal plate out of some very hot coals and holding it over the sugar.

I have worked for a handful of restaurants that offered crème brûlée.  They each made it differently, but they were all very staunch and rigid in their methods, almost to the point of superstition.

I’d like to go over some of the details of a good crème brûlée.

 

The Recipe.  4:1:1 – dairy (equal parts heavy cream and whole milk), egg yolks, white granulated sugar

On flavouring.  I guess there’s no reason you can’t flavour a crème brûlée with whatever you want: butterscotch, mint, orange, chocolate, quinoa, and so on.

But…

Imagine that you go see a show at The Starlite Room.  You show up at 8 o’clock and drink $4 beers for a few hours.  The featured act was supposed to come on at 10, but they stagger on just after midnight, and they all have sunglasses on.  Now, if they play a good set and knock your socks off, then the sunglasses just make it that much cooler.  If they don’t nail the set, then the sunglasses are obnoxious.  What I’m trying to say is that if you can’t deliver a perfect crème brûlée with a silken mouthfeel, you have no business flavouring it with anything but vanilla.

Beating the eggs and sugar to ribbon stage?  Completely unnecessary, as discussed in this post.

Cooking beforehand? Some folks cook the crème brûlée mix on the stove to thicken it, like crème anglaise, before transferring it to ramekins for baking.  The truth is that pre-cooking on the stove is completely unnecessary.  Simply scald the milk to infuse your chosen flavour, then slowly add to the sugar and egg yolks while whisking.  Transfer to the ramekins and bake.

Water bath.  Very necessary.  Helps cook the custard slowly and evenly.  Put the ramekins into a shallow roasting tray, then fill the tray with simmering water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Then the entire assembly can go into a moderate oven, say 325°F, but the effective cooking temperature will stay well below the boiling point of water, 212°F.

Wire rack or towel beneath the ramekins in the water bath.  Placing a towel in the water bath under the ramekins is supposed to keep the ramekins away from the thermal vicissitudes of the metal tray.  In reality it just inhibits the movement of heat around the ramekins.  Wire racks, on the other hand, let heat flow evenly under and around the ramekins.  Truthfully you can make superb crème brûlée without the use of either.  I always put my ramekins directly on the bottom of the tray and the custard comes out uniformly cooked.

Covering the ramekins or the water bath with foil.  Never, never cover the entire water bath with aluminum foil: covering will allow the water bath to come to a simmer, and the enclosed steam will raise the cooking temperature well above 212°F.  The custard will cook quicker, but the window of perfect doneness will be very narrow, so you risk overcooking the custard and making it grainy.

The logic behind covering the bath is to keep the surface of the custard moist and prevent the formation of a dry skin.  In my experience, baking custards in a conventional oven (ie. no convection fans) at moderate temperature (325°F) in a water bath, uncovered, does not develop a skin.

Crème brûlée as act of faith.  People told me this a dozen times before I actually believed it: you have to pull the ramekins out of the oven before they are done.  It’s like believing that Jesus saves, or walking through the wall at train station platform 9 3/4.  You need to believe that they will finish cooking even after you remove them from the oven, even though it doesn’t make much sense.

Periodically jostle the ramekins during baking.  Eventually the surfaces of the custard will move less like a liquid, and more like a very loose jelly.  If you wait until the custard is entirely set before taking it out of the oven, the texture will be slightly grainy.  The tricky bit is that different sizes and shapes of ramekins will all make the surface of the custard behave in different ways.

Torching.  There is a wide range of opinions on the perfect brûlée colour and texture.

The colour, flavour, and texture of the topping are determined by how much sugar is placed on top, and how thoroughly and in what manner it is torched.  I have worked at places that have you throw an entire crème brûlée out if you create any smoke.  And I have worked at others that will not serve a crème brûlée that doesn’t have at least a few black freckles.

Have a look at the photo below.  Let’s call the ramekin at the top of the page the first ramekin, the one at the bottom the fourth.  If I was eating at a bistro and received the first ramekin I would not be upset.  It is lightly coloured, and will offer a satisfying, delicately crisp contrast to the custard.  It is, however, slightly anemic.

The second and third ramekins have more amber colour and offer a more robust crust, and more dark, burnt flavours.

The fourth ramekin is an example of the far end of acceptable crème brûlée crusts.  It is mostly a deep amber colour, but has a few patches of black, truly burnt sugar.

Four ramekins displaying the varying acceptable degrees of burnt sugar on crème brûlée

Pastry Cream – Crème Pâtissière

A bowl of pastry creamTo make custard sauce we carefully cooked a mixture of dairy, sugar, and egg yolks over a double boiler so that the yolks thickened but didn’t curdle, which only occurs within a very narrow band of temperatures around 80°C.  It was nerve-racking.

It turns out that if you add starch to the mix, the eggs will never curdle, even if you boil the custard vigorously.  The starch granules absorb heat, protecting the egg proteins, and the dissolved starch interferes with protein linking.  Of course, the starch also thickens the custard, so you end up with something that is more like pudding than sauce.

This preparation is called pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, and it begins exactly as crème anglaise: in fact the recipes are almost identical.  The only difference is that once the starch, usually cornstarch, is added, the custard can be cooked in a pot on the stove, instead of a double boiler.  Unlike custard sauce, pastry cream should be brought to a simmer to let the starch cook out.  Typically some butter is also beaten into the custard after it is removed from the heat.

When I make pastry cream there are usually some tiny clumps in it when I’m finished.  I’m pretty sure these are rogue egg whites that have snuck into my custard by hiding on the surface of the yolks.  You can press the custard through a fine wire sieve to remove these curds.

There are several fancy uses for this custard, most notably as a filling for pastries like doughnuts (think Boston cream) and éclairs.  I would like to vouch for this preparation as something that can be eaten as pudding, in conjunction with stewed fruit and oatmeal crumble.

A bowl of custard, rhubarb, and oatmeal crumble

 

Pastry Cream
crème pâtissière

Master Ratio – 4 : 1 : 1 dairy, sugar, egg yolk plus corn starch and butter

Ingredients

  • 4 oz heavy cream
  • 4 oz whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 oz egg yolk
  • 0.5 oz cornstarch + 2 oz whole milk to make a slurry
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  1. Heat the dairy on the stove with the vanilla paste.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  3. Once the dairy simmers, remove it from the heat and temper the egg yolks mixture.  Return to the stove and add the cornstarch slurry.  Continue to whisk over medium-high heat until the custard thickens, then simmer gently for another two minutes to cook out the cornstarch.
  4. Remove the custard from the heat and slow the cooking either by using an ice bath, or by simply transferring the custard to a bowl.
  5. Whisk in the butter.
  6. Press the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits of curdled egg white.
  7. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent the formation of a dry skin.

Egg Noodles

Making pasta using the flour well techniqueI call these egg noodles to distinguish them from the eggless, dried, commercially-produced pastas like spaghetti and macaroni.

Let’s get to it.

You’ve no doubt seen nonnas or professional chefs mix pasta dough together right on the workbench by mounding up all the flour and making a well in the centre for all the liquid ingredients.

This is more than a parlour trick.

If you were to combine all the ingredients in a bowl at once and stir them together, you would find that they don’t come together; the dough will seem much too dry, and will stay crumbly and separate.  It takes the flour a while to absorb the moisture in the eggs and milk.  Slowly incorporating in this benchtop style gives the flour time to gelate.

Slowly incorporating the flour into the eggsOnce the dough comes together it will have a shaggy countenance, like so:

The shaggy dough, ready to be needed

Now we knead the bejesus out of it.  At least ten minutes by hand.  The dough will become smooth, with a slightly tacky surface.

After kneading the dough is silky smooth

Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap to protect it from drying out and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.  It can even sit there overnight.

Divide the dough in two.  It’s time to roll.  I use the pasta roller attachment for my Kitchenaid Mixer.  There are several stand-alone pasta rollers available, too.  The basic principle is this: the dough is passed between two rollers that are initially set quite wide, but are set successively closer between each pass of the the dough.

Putting the dough through a roller

If the rollers turn without pulling dough through, the dough is too dry and floury.  If the rollers tear the dough, as shown below, the dough is too moist and is sticking to the metal surfaces.  Refold the dough, lightly dust it with flour, and start again.

Wet dough tearing in the roller

Every cook has his or her own rolling method.  The guy who taught me how to roll pasta would roll the dough to the thinnest roller-setting, then refold the sheet back into its original size and re-roll to desired thickness.  The theory was that this made for very smooth dough with a persistent bite.  I’ve never done any controlled experiments to evaluate this method and see if the extra passes really make a difference, but this guy makes the best pasta I’ve ever eaten, so this is now my preferred method.

Thin, silky dough coming through the roller

The pasta machine comes with cutter-rollers.  Cutting by hand it pretty simple, too, if you fold up the sheets of dough like so:

Cutting the rolled dough into noodles

If you’re going to use the noodles within a couple of days, they’ll store well in the fridge.  Lay them out on lightly floured sheets of parchment on a sheet pan.  Cover with a clean dish towel to slow the loss of moisture.

Storing the noodles

Cutting the dough will result in scrap bits.  I save these for chicken noodle soup.

Scrap pasta

 

The recipe:

Egg Noodles

Master Ratio – 1:2:4 whole eggs, yolks, flour (plus a bit more flour…)

Ingredients

  • 260 g all-purpose flour
  • 120 g egg yolks (about 6 large yolks)
  • 60 g whole egg (1 large egg)
  • 15 g whole milk
  • 5 g canola oil
  • a pinch of salt

Little Scotch Eggs for Burns Night

Packing hard-boiled quail eggs in forcemeatScotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are wrapped in sausage meat, then breaded and deep-fried.  They’re eaten cold, ideal for picnics and packed lunches.  Actually if you watch the original British version of The Office you’ll see that Keith always has a Scotch egg for lunch.

Tonight is Burns Night, and we’re going to be serving little Scotch eggs made with quail eggs, instead of the traditional chicken egg, as savoury bar snacks.

Have a dram for the bard tonight.

 

Scotch quail eggs

Eggnog

Some jarred nog, agingHow to Incorporate the Eggs.  There are several different ways to put the “egg” into “eggnog.”  For a few years I used this method:

  • whisk egg yolks with some sugar until pale and foamy
  • whisk egg whites with some sugar until soft peaks form
  • fold the two egg foams together and stir into milk and cream
  • add rum and nutmeg

The problem with this method, first of all, is that if it sits for even five minutes, the eggy foams separate from the milk and cream. I wouldn’t mind a bit of head on the nog, but the foams make up about 90% of the volume.  Even during the brief moments in which all the ingredients are properly incorporated, the light and airy texture of the nog doesn’t seem appropriately robust and nourishing.

Out of sheer curiosity I tried cooking out a mixture of milk, cream, and yolks, à la crème anglaise.  It was a bit thick, even once thinned with rum, but before repeating the process with a lower yolk content I decided that the cooked-egg taste is also inappropriate to the ideal nog.

I’ve finally settled on just adding whole eggs with the milk and cream, and blitzing thoroughly with a stick blender.  The white make a nice little foam on top.  Sometimes it will separate a bit if it sits in the fridge, but you can just blend it again before serving.

Rum Content.  The recipe below uses one part rum for three parts dairy.  To some drinkers it will seem out of balance, but to me nog can pull off wonky booziness that would be completely inappropriate in most drinks.  Egg nog should warm you up.

Aging.  Another important piece of information I came across was that properly boozed nog can be made well, well before consumption, and aged in the fridge.  Michael Ruhlman has successfully aged eggnog for two years, if you can believe it.  I’ve been making mine about one month in advance.  The drink mellows and blends somewhat, but doesn’t develop any of the funky flavours of true, long-aged nog.  It makes preparation for parties easier.

If you intend on aging your nog I’d recommend doubling the quantity of rum in the recipe below.

Foam.  Very much a matter of personal taste, but I usually like a bit of eggy foam on top of my nog.  I like the flavour of the egg whites, and it creates textural contrast.

If you want lots of foam, you could separate the yolks and whites.  Use only the yolks in the recipe below, then right before serving whisk the whites with a pinch of sugar.  In terms of how stiff the whites should be whisked, I think they should be even softer than the classical “soft-peak” stage.  Once they reach soft peaks, the foam doesn’t flow over the surface of the liquid, and when drinking the nog it’s difficult to incorporate both foam and drink into each sip.

Nutmeg.  I used to incorporate the nutmeg at the blending stage, but I found that it always sank to the bottom.  Grating over the drink just before consumption ensures that you get the full aroma of the spice as it happily floats on the surface.  Just my preference.

 

Eggnog

Ingredients

  • 12 oz whole eggs (6 large eggs)
  • 8 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 very small pinch kosher salt
  • 24 fl oz whole milk
  • 8 fl oz heavy cream
  • 8 fl oz golden or spiced rum, I use Sailor Jerry
  • nutmeg to taste

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend with an immersion blender.
  2. Can be stored in the fridge for a week before serving.
  3. To serve, blend thoroughly to develop of bit of foam.  Ladle into mugs and grate nutmeg on top to taste.