Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Dishes - Eggnog

Eggnog, or egg nog (About this sound pronunciation (help·info)), also known as egg milk punch, is a
Eggnog with cinnamon
chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture) and spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg. Eggnog with a strong alcohol content keeps well, and is often considered to improve when aged for up to a year (refrigeration is recommended). Eggnog is often provided to guests in a large punch bowl, from which cups of eggnog are ladled.

Eggnog is traditionally consumed throughout Canada and the United States from American Thanksgiving through the end of the Christmas seasons every year. Eggnog or eggnog flavoring may also be added as to food or drink, such as coffee (e.g. an "Eggnog Latte" espresso drink) and tea. Eggnog as a custard can also be used as an ice cream flavor base.

Traditional eggnog is made of milk or cream, sugar, raw eggs, an alcoholic spirit, and spices, often vanilla or nutmeg. Some modern commercial eggnogs add gelatin and other thickeners, with less egg and cream. There are variations in ingredients, and toppings may be added.

Eggnog can be made commercially, as well as domestically. Ready-made eggnog versions are seasonally available with different spirits, or without alcohol, to be drunk as bought or used as "mixes" with all the ingredients except the liquor, to be added as desired.

Traditional eggnog has a significant fat and sugar content; low-fat and sugar-free formulations are available using skimmed or low fat milk.

Dutch advocaat with around 20% alcohol, long sold in bottles, is essentially an eggnog. Under current U.S. law, commercial products sold as eggnog are permitted to contain milk, sugar, modified milk ingredients, glucose-fructose, water, carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices, monoglycerides, and colorings. Ingredients vary significantly between variants.

Eggnog can be served as a homemade beverage or purchased from stores. Homemade eggnog was traditionally made with raw eggs. In the 2000s, some recipes call for the homemade eggnog mixture to be heated to a safe temperature during its preparation, to protect from eggs that may be contaminated with salmonella. Eggnog made with contaminated eggs that are not heated is not safe, despite the presence of alcohol.

Some North American manufacturers offer soy-, almond-, rice- or coconut-milk-based alternatives

"Silk Nog," a commercial soy milk eggnog.
for vegans and those with dairy allergies.

The history of non-dairy eggnogs goes back to at least 1899 when Almeda Lambert, in her Guide for Nut Cookery, gave a recipe for "Egg Nog" made using coconut cream, eggs, and sugar.

In 1973, Eunice Farmilant, in The Natural Foods Sweet-Tooth Cookbook, gave a more modern non-dairy eggnog recipe using 3 eggs separated, 2 tablespoons of barley malt extract or Amasake syrup, 4 cups of chilled soy milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and nutmeg, (p. 138-39)

In December 1981, Grain Country of Los Angeles, California, introduced Grain Nog, the earliest known non-dairy and vegan eggnog. Based on amazake (a traditional Japanese fermented rice beverage) and containing no eggs, it was available in plain, strawberry, and carob flavors.

Also in December 1981, Redwood Valley Soyfoods Unlimited (California) introduced Soynog, the earliest known soy-based non-dairy and vegan eggnog based on soy milk and tofu (added for thickness). It was renamed Lite Nog in 1982 and Tofu Nog in 1985.

Some recipes for homemade eggnog call for egg yolks to be cooked with milk into a custard to avoid potential hazards from raw eggs. (Some of these recipes call for any liquor used to be added beforehand, in the belief that the alcohol will evaporate during cooking.) Eggnog has much in common with classic custard-pudding recipes that do not call for cornstarch, and many types of eggnog can also be cooked into egg-custard puddings, or churned into eggnog-flavored ice cream.

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