The first Christmas the Man and I spent together, we got my mother drunk. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration—tipsy might be a better word. And for those of you who know my mother, you see why this is a notable event. But I should back up a little...
Some of my favorite moments working at Chez Panisse took place after service, when the staff would come together for food and drink at the end of a busy night. On the eve of Christmas Eve in 2009, service concluded, and a few of the café cooks concocted the most delicious eggnog for a late night holiday toast to conclude family meal. That eggnog reaffirmed, in typical Chez Panisse fashion, that what is most simple and straightforward is often the most beautiful and delicious. It also established in my mind the two main requirements of good 'nog: it must be frothy and fluffy, and garnished with pomegranate seeds.
Two nights later I hosted Christmas dinner, and concocted my own 'nog that was a surprising success. Even my mother had two glasses. While I now extensively chronicle all of my culinary endeavors, the Anne recipe binders were not yet in existence, and my eggnog recipe vanished into the abyss of Christmas past. Fast forward four years to 2013, sitting around the Christmas Eve table with many attendees of the first epic eggnog Christmas dinner plus the Man, memorializing the 'nog and its recipe's tragic disappearance, when my mother chimed in that she had found a copy!
Needless to say, Christmas morning was spent at the grocery store buying all the necessary ingredients. The stockings could wait, but the 'nog could not. The one catch was that in 2009 dairy was still a staple in my diet, so in order to partake in the 'nog revival myself, I needed to make some alterations.
Here is the revised version of the "Anne 'Nog" recipe (as it was titled on the scrap of paper my mother dug up). Evidently mom loved it because she had a glass or two, hence her famously tipsy Christmas. Good job, Mama. Again this year? Happy Holidays!
ANNE 'NOG REDUX
- 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated
- 1 can lite coconut milk, refrigerated
- 1 cup bourbon
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- cloves, ground, to taste
- nutmeg, whole, to taste
- pomegranate seeds (read my post on seeding pomegranates here)
Beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer until they lighten in color. Slowly add the agave nectar, beating until incorporated. Add the coconut milks and bourbon, and whisk until combined. Grate some nutmeg with a Microplane zester, and add it to the yolk mixture along with a pinch of cayenne pepper and ground cloves, to taste (about a generous pinch of each). Whisk to combine.
Separately beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Whisk the whites into the yolk mixture. Scoop the eggnog into glasses (being sure to get good froth in each glass) and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Best served fresh. Refrigerate between helpings.