Eggnog with amaretto and cherries

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Special Occasions

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Talk about the cart leading the horse – I saw some lovely reindeer cups in a shop recently and thought I had to make a Christmas drink. I have never had eggnog before and thought I would give it a try. It always seems to be so creamy and indulgent so what better to have during the festive season.

Amaretto is my favourite liqueur. It reminds me of many nights (and days) with my best friends. So when I thought about making a festive drink, it had to involve amaretto. I have decided to match the amaretto with some cherries to add a bit of bite, a deeper flavour and a rich festive colour. There is no end to the combinations that you could use though. Baileys would be delicious and creamy, Kahlua would provide a smooth coffee taste, chocolate liqueur would add some depth or Cointreau some extra sweetness.

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I have also made a non-alcoholic version which, with some nutmeg, is the ultimate Christmas spice. I served these in the special reindeer cups for extra festivity.

EGGNOG WITH AMARETTO AND AMARETTO SOAKED CHERRIES

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Ingredients (makes 4 – 6)

20 cherries, stones removed and halved
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs, separated
600ml whole milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
200-250ml amaretto
200ml double cream
½ tsp cocoa or freshly grated nutmeg

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For the cherries:

  • Soak the cherries in 100-150ml amaretto. You need enough amaretto to cover the cherries so just judge it deepening on that. I soaked them overnight so that they suck up all the amaretto but as long as you leave them for a couple of hours, you will still get good flavour. The amaretto turns are a lovely deep golden red and takes on the cherry flavour too.

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For the eggnog:

  • Whisk the sugar and and egg yolks using either a balloon whisk or electric hand whisk until thick and creamy.
  • Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until almost boiling. Small bubbles will start to form. Make sure to stir it every so often to make sure that a skin does not form on the top.
  • Remove from the heat and pour into the egg and sugar mixture very gradually making sure to whisk all the time.
  • Then pour the whisked mixture back into the pan and heat gently, stirring continually with a wooden spoon until smooth and slightly thickened. This will take some time but be patient. To test it is ready, draw your finger across a coated wooden spoon and if the channel stays clear and does not drip, the mixture is ready.
  • Add the vanilla and amaretto (leave this out if you are making the non-alcoholic version) and whisk well.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

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  • Whisk the egg whites in separate bowl until they form soft peaks. The test to check they are ready is to hold the bowl upside down (above your head if you are very daring). The egg whites should not move. Fold into the cooled egg and milk mixture.
  • Beat the double cream until thick. Then fold two thirds into the mixture.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

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To assemble:

  • Once ready, divide the cherries and cherry amaretto liquid between the glasses.
  • Pour the eggnog on top. Try to do this gently so that you keep the cherry amaretto separate from the eggnog. Don’t worry if it does mix. Your tasters will mix it as soon as they get it but it is nice to see the separate colours.
  • Top with the remaining whipped cream. I have piped it on but you can easily just use a teaspoon.
  • Dust with a little cocoa or nutmeg or a mixture of both and top with a cherry.
  • Serve with a straw and a spoon to scoop up the amaretto soaked cherries.

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This is deliciously decadent. Perfect for any Christmas party!

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The Author

I am a food lover with a passion for cooking and entertaining inspired by two very special grandmothers and a fabulous mum. I recently moved to London which has provided a plethora of new places, cultures and fascinations to stir up some underlying creativity. My hope is to share some cooking and entertaining ideas which I like and others seem to like too. I will also throw in the odd bit of Scottish flare to make sure I maintain my true braveheart roots. Hope you enjoy!

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