For this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge, the two key ingredients are egg nog and cranberries. I was planning to make egg nog cupcakes with a cranberry-based buttercream, but…I ran out of sugar. I know. A good food blogger never runs out of staples like sugar/butter/flour, but somehow it happened. And it was tragic.
But, while I didn’t have sugar, I did have eggs, milk, cream, spices, rum, and a whole lot of cranberries. So I decided to just throw creativity to the wind and just make good ol’ fashioned, rummy egg nog. To stay within the guidelines of the challenge, I infused my rum with cranberries, blended the rum-soaked berries into a boozy puree, and added both to my ‘nog. It was delicious.
The first time I had egg nog was last Thanksgiving, at Dan’s uncle’s house. The thought of drinking raw egg has always given me the heeby jeebies, so I’d always passed on the stuff when it was offered. But, Dan’s aunts insisted that it was delicious, so I decided to suck it up and give it a try. It was awesome — thick and creamy, sweet and boozy; it was like the perfect vanilla milkshake. And, if I hadn’t known what went into making it, I would never have guessed that I was slurping down raw egg.
This cranberry version is really yummy, but I wish there was more of a pronounced cranberry flavor. I think if I had cooked the berries before pureeing them, I could have brought out more of the sweet, tart flavor of the fruit. As it is, the egg nog is still delicious, but…there is room for improvement. Oh well, next time!
Cranberry Egg Nogg (Adapted from Epicurean Mom’s recipe)
– 3-1/2 cups milk
– 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 pinch of ground clove
– 6 egg yolks
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar (Like I said, I was out of sugar, so I had to go with powdered sugar…about 2 cups)
– 1 cup cranberry-infused rum (Optional — Fill a mason jar with fresh, halved cranberries and rum, and place jar in a cool, dry place for about a week. Swirl the contents of your jar every day.)
– 2 tbsp pureed cranberries (Use the berries that were soaking in rum)
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
(1) In a saucepan over low heat combine milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Raise the heat slowly and bring to a slow boil. Once the milk mixture starts to boil take off heat.
(2) In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until pale and fluffy.
(3) Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, whisking constantly to make sure your eggs don’t scramble.
(4) Pour ever back into the saucepan and heat on med/med-low for about 5 minutes, continually stirring, until thickened and creamy.
** Do not let it boil, or the nog will curdle.
(5) Stir in the rum, pureed cranberries, heavy cream and nutmeg. Refrigerate over night. When ready to serve garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sugared cranberries.
Check out what the other Improv bloggers have come up with!