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Eggnog Mousse with Brandied Apricots

Makes 8 servings
  • Active time: 45 min
    Total time: 2 3/4 hr (includes 2 hours chilling)
Save your most glamorous stemmed glasses for this elegant but very easy dessert based on the season’s favorite drink, eggnog. Its creamy texture is offset by the punch of the brandied apricots.

INGREDIENTS:

For Brandied Apricots:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 ounces California (a.k.a. Pacific) dried apricots (1 cup packed), coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brandy

For Eggnog Mousse:

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make Brandied Apricots:

  • Combine sugar, water, and apricots in a 1-quart. saucepan and simmer partially covered, until apricots are tender, about 7 minutes. Add brandy and cool.

Make Eggnog Mousse:

  • Sprinkle gelatin over water and let soften 1 minute. Add to milk in a 2-quart. saucepan and heat until hot, stirring to dissolve gelatin.
  • While milk is heating, whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt until blended, then gradually whisk in hot milk.
  • Return mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a wooden spoon and registers 170°F - 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl and stir in brandy, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Put bowl into an ice bath and stir frequently until mixture is texture of raw egg white, about 20 minutes.
  • While custard is chilling, beat cream with an electric mixer just until soft peaks form.
  • Remove custard from ice bath and quickly fold in cream.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of apricots into each of 8 (6-ounce) glasses and top with mousse.
  • Chill, covered, until set, at least 2 hours.
  • Just before serving, dust desserts with nutmeg and top with remaining apricots.

COOKS' NOTES:

  • Apricots can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.
  • If you can’t find the California or Pacific dried apricots, go ahead and use the Turkish ones, which seem to be more readily available these days. We prefer the California ones in this recipe because their sweet-tart flavor provides more of a contrast to the creamy mousse. If you do use the Turkish apricots, add a little lemon juice to the mixture when you add the brandy.
  • Assembled mousse can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
  • If your custard sets up too much before you can fold in the whipped cream, all is not lost: Put the whipped cream in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Warm the custard again to a liquid state and then chill it again in the water bath, removing it from the bath a little sooner.
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