Sometimes with food, you experience the same coup de foudre as love at first sight. You might spy a mille-feuille (aka Napoleon or custard slice) in the glass pastry case and know just by looking that you’d relish those myriad strata of light, flaky pastry, cool, smooth custard sandwiched between them. Perhaps you were invited for dinner and noticed a saucepan of chana masala simmering on the stove, saffron and cardamon and cayenne dancing in the bubbles that rise gently to the surface, and you knew you’d be smitten. Or maybe the first time you encounter authentic mole, its rich bitter undertones mingling with spicy heat as you inhale its exotic aroma, you know that the warmth on your tongue, the combination of slow-cooked tomato and chilies will send you into paroxysms of gastronomic ecstasy. You want to marry that mole.
Sometimes, you just know.
I’ve had a love affair with eggnog from the first time I caught a whiff of that eggy, nutmeg-dusted scent when I was about seven, as my older sister poured herself a glass of the golden elixir; I knew before I even tasted it. Cartons of the stuff would appear at holiday time, and we were lucky if one lasted a day in our house. Once I moved out on my own, I attempted eggnog from scratch–once. The ethereal combination of cream, egg and bourbon confirmed for me how much I loved it. Even once I eschewed eggs and dairy, I turned to Holly Nog (good) or Noel Nog (superlative) and didn’t for a second miss the “real” thing (adding a shot of bourbon helped, too).
Ever since I began the ACD in March, 2009, there has been no nog in our house. No dairy-based. No soy-based. Nothing. With no sweeteners (except stevia), no fruit, no eggs, and certainly no bourbon, there was no way I could have even a sip of the stuff.
This year, my former love and I have been reunited. After considering several other variations, I used my noggin (well, really, you knew that was coming) and came up with a batch of this ACD-friendly (for those past the first phase of the diet) libation. I think it’s pretty darned close to the nog of my youth. Upon taking a sip, the HH even remarked, “Wow, that tastes like the real thing. In fact, the only thing it’s missing is the booze.” (Sorry, sweetheart.)
For those of you following a sugar-free diet, or a dairy-free, egg-free diet, or a gluten-free diet, or (sniff, boo hoo) an alcohol-free diet, this is the nog for you.
Sugar Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free “Eggnog” (suitable for ACD Phase II and beyond)
I used pear to augment the sweetness in this drink without adding a discernible “fruity” flavor. And since I had such great success using raw cashews to enrich my Chai Carob Latte a while back, I opted to use those again in this recipe. The combination of flavors really does work to replicate the traditional drink fairly well. And if you’re able to add a splash of bourbon to yours, so much the better!
1/4 ripe pear, cored (no need to peel)
1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla rice, almond or soymilk*
2 tsp (10 ml) lucuma powder (optional, but highly recommended)
2 heaping Tbsp (35-40 ml) raw cashews
1 tsp (5 ml) chia seeds**
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) nutmeg
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1 ml) rum flavoring (optional)
8-12 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
up to one ounce (30 ml) bourbon or rum, if desired/permitted
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender** and blend until perfectly smooth. Refrigerate until ice cold, at least an hour (this will also help it to thicken up considerably). To serve, whisk once more and top with a sprinkling of cinnamon; serve immediately.
*if you use soymilk, the recipe is, obviously, no longer soy-free.
** if you don’t have a high-powered blender, grind the seeds to a fine powder first, in a coffee grinder.
I’m also submitting this recipe to Amy’s weekly Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. . . so many healthier holiday-themed recipes to check out!
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Last Year at this Time: Gastronomic Gift: Hazelnut Melting Moments, Times Two (GF and non-GF versions; ACD maintenance only)
Two Years Ago: Gastronomic Gifts V: Tutti-Fruiti Christmas Cookies (not GF; not ACD-friendly)