In today's environment I don't feel safe with raw eggs so my recipe requires heating a milk/egg base. You absolutely need a good thermometer you can clip to the side of the pan so all you have to do is stir and watch the temp.
I also strongly recommend using 2 pans: a larger one that holds boiling water and a smaller one that can be added without boiling water splattering into it. Before turning on the heat, test the water level in the larger pot with the smaller one pressed to the bottom of the larger one. Make sure there's plenty of room for the water to boil without spilling into your eggnog base. The taller the smaller pot is the better, as long as you can stir.
Okay, to make 5+ cups of eggnog I used the following:
- 3 cups of whole milk (I use organic)
- 1 c heavy cream (organic)
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp-1tbsp of vanilla as preferred
- 1 tbsp of sugar or honey (optional)
To create and cook the base, put about half the milk/cream into a blender, add the 3 eggs and whip until very well mixed. Make sure you clean your blender after you put the cold mix into the smaller pan for heating, because you'll be whipping the cooked eggnog base in it later and you don't want to add any germs back in.
Pour the eggnog base into the smaller pan and add to the pot of boiling water. Let it heat for a minute or two, stirring constantly, and lower the heat under the larger pan when it comes back to a boil--you really only need an active simmer to heat your eggnog base.
When the base reaches 160F, it will suddenly begin to thicken. Place the hot pan into the cold water bath and keep stirring--you don't want scrambled eggs! After a couple minutes it will be starting to cool and you can pour the hot base into your (cleaned) blender. Whip it and it should have the texture of a very thick milkshake.
Pour the still-warm base into a large bowl or pitcher; you'll need to spoon the last of the base out of the blender as it's so thick. Add the vanilla and the rest of the milk/cream plus the sugar/honey if desired.
The eggnog should still be pretty thick after you add the milk/cream. Put it into the fridge until nice and cold--you'll never want store-bought again! I sprinkle nutmeg on mine; I'm a non-drinker but with or without the nutmeg you may also want to add a tiny bit of rum.