Tomorrow I am bringing in some eggnog treats to my class for a report on food science. I guess you could say I am reporting on both eggs and ice cream making.
In addition to the basic ways eggs can be prepared, they also perform in other ways for the knowledgeable cook. Their cooking properties are so varied that eggs have been called the "cement that holds together the castle of cuisine."
Eggs are used as EMULSIFIERS. They stabilize mixtures so they don’t separate. One common way that eggs are used as an emulsifier is in making mayonnaise. Eggs keep the fat (oil) and the liquid (vinegar or lemon juice) of the mayonnaise evenly blended together.
Eggs are used to COAGULATE. Coagulation occurs when a substance changes from a liquid to a semi-solid or solid. In a quiche or custard, the ability of eggs to coagulate when heated turns an egg-and-milk mixture from a liquid into a semi-solid. Eggs also turn from a liquid to a semi-solid when you scramble them and, because heat is used for a longer time, change all the way from a liquid to a solid when you hard cook them.
Eggs are used to LEAVEN. Many recipes count on the ability of eggs to leaven. When eggs are beaten, a foam of tiny air bubbles is formed. The foam lightens the mixture and increases its volume. When beaten, egg whites will form more foam than egg yolks, so the whites are often beaten separately. Up to a point, the longer the whites are beaten, the more they will foam. If egg-white foam is put into a recipe that’s heated, the air bubbles will expand and the egg white’s protein will coagulate around the air bubbles. The coagulated egg-white protein will trap the air bubbles in the cooked or baked dish and make it light and airy. This process is called leavening.
I used a pasteurized egg product (Eggbeaters) in the ice cream recipe. I bought an ice cream maker two and a half years ago and hardly ever use it. I thought since it is the holidays I ould break it out along with some 'nog.
Also, my chef instructor doesn't like eggnog in a liquid form (as we have discussed this in class) but I thought maybe she would enjoy it in a solid form (in the ice cream) or baked into a cake. Or even in the buttercream I made for the cupcakes.
Finally, there is ANOTHER reason I made the ice cream. I discovered my boyfriend's fondness for it. So, I made extra for him.
Eggnog Ice Cream
1/2 cup pasteurized egg product
3/4 cup sugar or Splenda
1 cup egg nog (the light kind does fine)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp rum
1 tsp Davinci Eggnog Syrup (I decided I would use this because I already had it in the cupboard. If you don't have it, you can use brandy or brandy extract. Be careful of too much alcohol, or your mixture will not freeze.)
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Combine the egg product and sugar in a mixer and beat until thickened and pale yellow in appearance (a few minutes). Use low speed and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Turn on your ice cream maker and mix until thickened (25-30 mins). After thickening, transfer ice cream to a freezable (airtight) container. I already had made the eggnog cake to layer in between the ice cream. If you do this, you will want to also make the cake in advance and make sure it is completely cooled before you layer it with the ice cream. Place the ice cream in the freezer until firm.
I won't give away my buttercream recipe here, but I will tell you that I made the frosting eggnog flavored by using eggnog in place of the cream I normally use, and a little of the eggnog syrup to flavor it.
Here is the eggnog cake recipe I used. I will tell you what it is because I ripped it off from someplace else and then changed it to suit my needs. I wanted to achieve a slight contrast to the eggnog ice cream with the ginger and molasses.
Eggnog & Ginger Cake
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (3 sticks, 12 ounces)
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 Tbs molasses
1/4 cup dark rum (optional) or brandy (optional)
3 1/2 cups cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups eggnog or light cream
Preheat oven to 325ish.
Butter and sugar together in mixer, cream it, add your eggs one by one, then you are going to combine all the dry ingredients (sift together). Combine the nog, the rum, and the molasses and add the mixture to the sugar/butter/egg combo alternately with the dry mix. Mix thoroughly but do not overbeat. Pour into a prepared pan or cupcake liners and bake until the cake rises and springs back when touched. 20 minutes maybe?
Let the cake cool completely before you try to layer ice cream or frosting on it.