Get Your Nog In

As they say: What are the holidays without eggnog? So you buy a quart of the seasonal stuff and there it sits in the fridge, barely sipped, well into the New Year. Instead of throwing out a near-full carton come January, fry it into French toast, bake it into rich cheesecake, even toss it with pasta. Here are three new takes on the requisite winter beverage that will make you finally understand what all the fuss is about – no ladle required.

1. FRENCH TOAST Pour 1 cup of eggnog into a large, shallow bowl. Add 3 eggs, 2 pinches cinnamon, 2 pinches nutmeg and 1 pinch ground ginger. Whisk to combine. Heat ½ tablespoon of butter on a griddle over medium-high heat. Cut 6 thick slices of brioche. Once the butter foams, emerge 1 brioche slice into the eggnog mixture and place on the hot griddle. Repeat with as many slices as will fit. When the bread browns on one side, about 2 to 4 minutes, flip and brown the other side. When it’s browned on both sides, transfer to a small plate. Repeat with the remaining slices. To serve, sift powdered sugar over the toast and top with a spoonful of warm cranberry-and-orange compote.

2. CHEESECAKE Place 1 cup of graham crackers crushed to the consistency of cornmeal in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Place in the refrigerator. Using a stand mixer or food processor, beat 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour until smooth. Add 2 beaten egg yolks and mix until well-combined. Gradually beat in 1 cup of eggnog, 1 teaspoon of light rum and a generous dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour the filling over the cheesecake crust. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off but keep the door closed. Leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour. Partially open the oven door and let the cake cool for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

3. RAVIOLI Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook 1 8-ounce package of butternut squash ravioli for about 1 minute less than the time listed on the package instructions. Set aside, reserving the pasta water. In a saute pan over medium heat, add ¼ cup each of heavy cream and eggnog, 3 torn sage leaves, freshly ground black pepper to taste, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Allow the mixture to reduce for about 3 minutes. Toss in the ravioli and let it cook in the sauce for about 1 minute. Dilute with ¼ cup of pasta water (or more to reach your desired consistency). Serve immediately.