What Is Eggnog Ice Cream?

G. Wiesen

Eggnog ice cream is a frozen dessert often made in a way similar to vanilla ice cream, but with additional flavors that give it a taste like eggnog. This often begins with the creation of custard through heating milk and adding it to a mixture of sugar and egg yolks. The combination is added to heavy cream and heated further in order to create the right consistency and to cook the eggs for proper food safety. Eggnog ice cream is then flavored with alcohol, usually bourbon or rum, allowed to chill, and then frozen further in an ice cream maker.

Nutmeg is typically used to flavor eggnog ice cream.
Nutmeg is typically used to flavor eggnog ice cream.

Ice cream in general, including eggnog ice cream, is a frozen treat that is made through a combination of eggs and cream to form custard that is then frozen. Different ingredients can be added to make a wide variety of flavors, including basic vanilla, chocolate, and even numerous berries and candies. A simple recipe for custard to be used in ice cream can, therefore, allow someone to make a number of different flavors, through additions and alterations to it.

Egg whites are one of the main ingredients in eggnog icecream.
Egg whites are one of the main ingredients in eggnog icecream.

Eggnog ice cream typically begins with the creation of custard through a combination of several different ingredients. Sugar is typically whisked together with egg yolks in a bowl. Milk is heated in a separate saucepan, often with a little salt. This is then slowly added to the eggs and sugar, which must be combined carefully to prevent the eggs from cooking separately.

After these ingredients are combined, then heavy cream is slowly added and the mixture is returned to heat to make the custard for eggnog ice cream. This combination of milk, cream, and egg yolks thickens as it heats and forms the proper consistency of custard. The cooking process also ensures that any potential for food poisoning from raw eggs is reduced or eliminated. When the custard reaches the right temperature, it is typically removed from heat and combined with other flavors.

These ingredients help distinguish eggnog ice cream from other types, such as plain vanilla or chocolate. Alcohol is typically added, usually bourbon or brandy though rum can also create a complimentary taste. Nutmeg is also added to the mixture. While freshly grated nutmeg is usually preferable, ground varieties can also be used. This mixture is then allowed to chill for several hours.

When properly chilled, the custard is added to an ice cream maker. These devices churn the custard, allowing it to take on the proper consistency of eggnog ice cream. Different ice cream makers may require a variety of times and procedures, so instructions for them should be followed on an individual basis. Once the churning is complete, then the dessert can be eaten as “soft serve;” many people prefer to freeze the eggnog ice cream longer, however, for a firmer texture.

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