Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Eggnog + Lattes
I wanted to share a learning with all of you, and that is about eggnog. Basically, they don't make it in England. Or Ireland. Or pretty much anywhere in the UK. I can't vouch for the rest of Western Europe, but it's a safe guess that they probably don't make it there either. Not only do they not make it, they don't know what it is and you certainly cannot get it in the store.
But! Starbucks is ubiquitous, and they pride themselves in the overall excellence and sameness of their coffee-based beverages, and therefore the company has innocently become the first importers to introduce eggnog to the UK via their Eggnog Lattes. My Irishman was hooked on the sweet sweet beverage this holiday season, and while we were in Dublin we had a severe hankering for them. Unfortunately Dublin is a tiny town and surprisingly non-commercial in the suburbs, and there were no Starbucks outlets to be found within driving distance of the Irishman's home save driving into the city center - odd, compared to London where you can't go five minutes anywhere in the city without tripping over three Starbucks shops.
So what does one do without Starbucks? Well, if one's family received a Nespresso machine for Christmas, one decides to make the eggnog, and the lattes, one's self! First we found a recipe - Alton Brown of the Food Network had a decently easy-looking recipe - and then off we went to the shop for whiskey and cream. Now. Here is the second learning: eggnog is American - not Irish, or British - and therefore an American should make it. The Irishman has a tendency to sometimes take over in the kitchen, due to his excitement and love of cooking, but I ask you - WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT EGGNOG? He's never had it straight, only in coffee, and doesn't know what to expect from texture, taste, or flavor.
Needless to say, our first batch was a horrible disaster - mostly due to the fact that we did the heated version and ended up with more egg than nog. But the second round we did cold, and the key is to let it set in the fridge so that it all congeals the right way. Learning number 3 - you don't really need the extra egg whites. Ours were corrupted and didn't peak when we whipped them; I guess they would add a bit more thickness to the consistency, but not having them made it more drinkable and I think more authentic.
In the end, our eggnog lattes were a success; I made sure to google a recipe for the eggnog lattes just to be sure of what I was doing, and in doing so found a great new food blog to follow: Savory Sweet Life. Check it out! My new blogmate Alice gave me learning number 4, that eggnog lattes aren't made with straight eggnog. Starbucks waters it down with milk and if you're like me you can use skim or 2% to make yourself feel better about all of the eggs and cream you're about to ingest. I used 1 shot of espresso since I didn't want to use up the Irishman's father's new Nespresso pods, and just didn't fill the mugs. Everyone thought they were delicious, and even more sweet was my kitchen victory when the Irishman admitted they were just like Starbucks (and maybe even better).