Eggnog is a thick, dairy-based drink made with milk, sugar, eggs and spices, usually nutmeg and vanilla. It is often spiked with a little bit of liquour and it is typically served during the winter, particular around holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a fun drink to make, but the thick, creamy beverage can also be put to a number of other good culinary uses and lend its unique flavor to other desserts.
This Eggnog Panna Cotta is a perfect example. Panna cotta is a light, delicate custard that uses gelatin to thicken it. Eggnog has a thick, rich consistency and adds just the right amount of creaminess to a panna cotta – along with a Christmasy flavor. To make the base of the recipe, I combined milk, eggnog, vanilla, nutmeg and some sugar with a little gelatin. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, the mixture can be left alone to set in ramekins in the fridge. Although you can make your own eggnog, storebought eggnog works just fine in this type of recipe. I recommend using a full fat eggnog (although the recipe will still set if you use a low fat type) because you’ll get a much better, creamier result in the end.
Eggnog is often served spiked with rum or brandy. I personally like it plain, with the flavors of egg, vanilla and nutmeg shining through, so that is how I left this panna cotta flavored. If you want to spike your panna cottas, substitute a small amount of the milk with rum (3 tbsp should be sufficient) and make the recipe as directed, dissolving the gelatin in the milk and adding the rum in with the eggnog. You can also add in 1/2 tsp rum extract without changing anything else in the original recipe.
Eggnog Panna Cotta
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups eggnog (store-bought is fine)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
In a small saucepan, combine milk and gelatin. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until gelatin has dissolved. Watch mixture carefully so milk does not boil.
Add in eggnog, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has dissolved, bring mixture almost to a simmer. Cream will steam, but not bubble.
Strain mixture into a measuring cup or other dish with a spout. Divide evenly into six 4-oz ramekins and chill until gelatin has set, at least 3-4 hours or overnight, before serving.
Serve in ramekins (the no-fail option, an excellent choice) or dip the ramekins in hot water and run a hot knife around the edge to loosen, then invert onto a plate to serve.
Makes 6 servings.