A centuries-old drink recipe containing eggs, alcohol and cream, eggnog was often used in toasts to good health and prosperity. It’s long been associated with Christmas and is especially festive when turned into a celebratory crème brûlée.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
- 8 fl oz (240 ml) double or regular cream
- 2½ fl oz (60 ml) brandy
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ½ vanilla pod, split and scraped
For the Caramel Topping
- 4 oz (110 g) caster sugar
How to Make It
- Ideally, make the custard the day before the crème brûlée is needed, or at least 8 hours beforehand. Mix the egg yolks together with the sugar. Place the cream, brandy, cinnamon and vanilla pod in a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and warm just until ‘shivering’, but do not boil.
- When hot, remove the cinnamon and vanilla pod (these can be rinsed, dried and used again) and pour the cream slowly over the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Return to the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly, just until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It must not boil or the egg yolks will scramble. Pour into four cups, glasses or ramekins. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge to chill overnight. Be careful not to break the skin that forms.
- The following day, or 8 hours later, make the caramel topping. Dissolve the sugar for the caramel topping in 75 ml (3 fl oz) water. Place in a saucepan and on a medium–high heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar caramelises and turns a chestnut-brown colour. Do not stir while it is boiling or the sugar will crystallise, though you can swirl the pan when it starts to brown a little at the edges. Remove from the heat and immediately spoon a thin layer of caramel over the top of the custards, making sure not to ‘swirl’ them to help spread the caramel. Doing this can break the skin on top of the custard, which will cause the caramel to sink.
- Allow to cool and set for at least 15 minutes, then serve. The crème brûlées will sit in a dry atmosphere for 2–3 hours.