As we were putting up the Christmas decorations, Sam turned to me and said “we need a Christmas drink – too bad eggnog has dairy” and I immediately thought, “I can fix that!”

A couple of important points: 1. Whatever you do, don’t rush the heating of the milk and eggs – especially the eggs. If they get too hot (like forgetting about them or the bottom of the pan is too hot from high heat), you’ll get curdling, which, doesn’t not sound like the pleasant Christmas goodness you’re looking for, but making sure you hit 165F should prevent any Salmonella concerns. 2. Vanilla and cinnamon extracts are volatile alcohols. If you add them before cooking or while the mixture is too warm, the alcohols will evaporate and you’ll lose the flavor. If you’re using high quality vanilla extract, that’s a lot of wasted expense! 3. If you want to kick it up a notch, use fresh ground nutmeg in lieu of the ground nutmeg (you could grind the cinnamon too). You can also omit the vanilla extract and add a whole vanilla bean (split it first) before you begin heating the milk.

You could mix in the booze (about 10 fl oz) into the whole batch, but I like to be able to personalize the strength and flavor (cognac or other whiskeys are fun choices – stay away from the smokey scotches).

Ingredients

  • 5 oz Cashews, whole, raw, unsalted
  • 3 cups Water
  • 8 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Extract
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 3.4 oz Sugar (about a 1/2 cup)
  • whole Cinnamon Sticks

Directions

  1. Place the cashews and water  in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy (approximately 1 minute) to create cashew milk. (I use the Vitamix Smoothie program – sometimes I run it twice) Strain the milk if a smoother texture is desired.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and the color begins to pale slightly.
  3. In a medium sauce pot over low heat, heat the cashew milk along with the nutmeg and a whole cinnamon stick to about 150F.
  4. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding the milk while stirring.
  5. Return the cashew milk/egg mixture to the sauce pot and continue to heat (over low heat) to 165F to pasteurize the eggs.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a suitable container and chill. Placing plastic wrap in contact with the top of the liquid will prevent a “skin” from forming.
  7. Once chilled, remove the cinnamon stick and mix in the vanilla and cinnamon extract.
  8. Serve over ice with bourbon or rum and garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or ground cinnamon.

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