adapted from Michael Ruhlman
makes about 2½ cups
1 cup cream
1 – 1½ cups milk
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg shavings equivalent
3 medium-sized duck eggs, separated
¾ cup organic sugar
12 ounces rum, brandy or bourbon, or to taste
1. In a saucepan combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, salt and vanilla, bring it to a bare simmer. Add nutmeg and stir often.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the yolks and the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisking the yolks continuously, slowly ladle in ½ cup the hot milk and cream mixture. Whisk vigorously to avoid little bits of cooked egg. This will temper the eggs. Ladle in another ½ cup, still whisking vigorously. Do this until all the milk and yolk mixtures are well combined.
3. Meanwhile, set up a bowl and strainer big enough to contain the yolk-cream mixture and place bowl into a larger bowl filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water.
4. Return the yolk-cream mixture back to the saucepan and stir it with a flat-edged spoon or heat-proof spatula over medium heat until the mixture thickens, a few minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon (you can take it as high as 165° if you want to measure). Pour it through the strainer into the bowl set in ice. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine and fully cool the mixture.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Combine 4 ounces of eggnog with 2 ounces of rum, brandy or bourbon; add more nutmeg to taste, then add ice and more gratings of nutmeg.