The History of Eggs and Julia Rutland’s Eggnog Recipe
Just in time for the holiday season, Julia Rutland, author of Eggs: 50 Tried & True Recipes, shares with us her recipe for Eggnog.
One of the earliest foods to be eaten by humans, eggs have been consumed from prehistory to the present day. Over the millennia, eggs have provided an important source of nutrition as well
as cultural symbolism. Until the mid-twentieth century, egg farms in the US were primarily family-based, backyard operations. Industrial advancement transformed small flocks into large commercial enterprises. Improved efficiency and sanitation led to increased egg production, but it also led to animal welfare concerns and adjustments to address them.
About 65% of commercially produced eggs are bought and used by home cooks. In the US, each person eats the equivalent of 286 eggs every year! (This doesn’t mean entire eggs, of course, but eggs used as ingredients in other products.) About 4% of commercial eggs are used by the restaurant (food service) industry, about 3% are exported, and the remaining 28% are used by food manufacturers to make a variety of products we purchase at grocery stores. In all, more than 260 million cases of eggs are produced each year.
This version of the holiday drink includes beaten egg whites to lighten up the texture. You can skip this ingredient for a richer drink. For an adult version, add a shot of bourbon, whiskey, or rum to the glass before pouring in the eggnog.
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine milk, cream, sugar, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until hot but not boiling.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Cover and chill egg whites until ready to serve. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Drizzle about 1⁄3 cup hot milk mixture into yolks; whisk and repeat with another 1⁄3 cup hot milk mixture. Pour yolk mixture into remaining hot milk mixture in pan; whisk to combine.
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160°. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Let stand until room temperature; cover and chill several hours or overnight.
Before serving, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into chilled eggnog. Garnish, if desired.
Eggs: 50 Tried & True Recipes is part of Adventure Publications’ Nature’s Favorite Foods cookbook series, which includes the following, also by Julia: Tomatoes, Blueberries, Squash, and Apples, as well as Rhubarb and Maple Syrup by Corrine Kozlak.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter. Make sure to check out new recipes from Julia’s latest cookbook. For the apple season, you might also like these two recipes from Julia’s Apples: 50 Tried & True Recipes cookbook.