Because of the risk of salmonella, it's safest not to make holiday eggnog with raw or undercooked eggs.
Fortunately, several alternatives exist. Commercial eggnog is prepared with pasteurized eggs and requires no cooking. If you want an even richer flavor with more thickness, you can fold in whipped cream.
Eggnog made with egg substitute also is safe because these frozen commercial products have been pasteurized.
To make a safe custard base for eggnog you can cook a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar and salt on medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens and coats a spoon. A thermometer should register 165 degrees. Cool quickly by setting the pan in a bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for about 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Or you can try a couple of variations on the classic. Eggnog Elegante is a cooked-milk and egg base flavored with peach liqueur and orange juice concentrate. To save calories for the rest of your holiday feasting, try Low-Cholesterol Eggnog, which uses egg substitute and skim milk.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/3 cup peach liqueur
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1. In a medium saucepan beat together the eggs, sugar and salt. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and just coats a metal spoon.
2. Cool quickly by setting pan in bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.
3. Stir in peach liqueur and orange juice concentrate. Pour into punch bowl or pitcher. Serve immediately.
1/2 cup egg substitute, defrosted
2 teaspoons sugar
1 can (13 ounces) canned evaporated skim milk
3/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
Freshly ground nutmeg
1. Whip defrosted egg substitute and sugar together, then combine with canned and fresh milk, vanilla and rum flavoring. Mix well. Chill overnight.
2. Ladle into serving cups and dust with nutmeg.