Is it possible to pinpoint the taste of the season? For Mathew Rice, pastry chef at Niche, it's eggnog, that thick, silky potion served only at year's end – and forever at Rice's family's holiday gatherings. Nog-laced nostalgia inspired him to create a dessert with the flavor of yuletides past in a more luxurious form befitting holidays present. The resulting eggnog pudding, a rich, simple stunner perfected just in time for last year's festive season, was so well-received that it's back on the Benton Park restaurant's menu this December.
- Katie O'Connor
4 cups eggnog
1 Tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg
10 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Hazelnut-toffee sauce (recipe follows)
• In a saucepan, combine the eggnog and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
• In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
• Temper the eggnog into the yolk mixture by slowing stirring about half of the hot eggnog into the yolks.
• When combined, add the yolk mixture to the pan and simmer, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbles start to form. Remove from the heat.
• Whisk in the butter and vanilla.
• Strain into a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
• To serve, stir the pudding until smooth and divide equally into serving dishes. Top with a spoonful of hazelnut-toffee sauce and serve with homemade gingersnaps.
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted
• In a saucepan, combine the butter and sugar and bring to a boil.
• Add the cream and salt and simmer until thick.
• Stir in the hazelnuts. Refrigerate until cool and the sauce is thick.