This weekend, in the spirit of the holidays, we wanted to make some eggnog. We’ve made eggnog and "soynog" so many times before that it seemed like time to mix it up a little. If you're a regular reader, you might know how much I love masala chai. I'm a weakling when it comes to caffeine but once in a while, especially when we have large family gatherings, we make loads of the fragrant chai and I just can't resist sipping a few cups. So why not combine the two?
Eggnog already has nutmeg, so adding the spices used in masala chai just enhances the flavor. The cardamom in particular really shines through. If you're adventurous (and not making this for kids), you could also spike it with a little rum or cognac.
Servings: 6 servings
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
30 cardamom pods, crushed
1 (6-inch) piece fresh ginger, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 black tea bags
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup granulated sugar, to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
⅓ cup rum or brandy, optional
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, evaporated milk, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a near boil. Turn off the heat and immediately add the tea bags. Let the tea steep for 3 minutes, depending on how strong you want the tea flavor (no more than 4 minutes or the tea will release its acidity); the color will turn amber.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ½ cup sugar until they become pale yellow. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling. Strain through a fine mesh and discard all the solids and spices. Add rum (if using).
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and whisk until they form soft peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat for another 30 seconds. Using a silicone spatula, mix ⅓ of the whipped egg whites with the egg yolk mixture to soften it. Add the rest of the whipped egg whites and gently fold in the creamy mixture to get a light consistency.
Adjust the sweetness if necessary.
Serve warm or chilled. Sprinkle the top with freshly ground cinnamon.
I use PG Tips brand tea. It's the brand that my father-in-law grew up on back in India.
I used Carnation brand evaporated milk.
For a healthier version, you can replace the cream and milk with hot water and milk.