What’s Up, Hungry People
Welcome to Berk. Where it snows year round, the people are ruthless and the town is – for lack of a better word – sturdy. The only plus side? The dragons!
How to Train Your Dragon is hands down one of my all time favorite movies. So when the movie expanded into a multiple movies, several TV shows and a Christmas special – my little dragon rider heart was beyond thrilled.
One such movie that I literally own the DVD to – a vintage artifact from 2011 – is Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury. While the overall series follows Hiccup and his friends as they discover and train all sorts of dragons around Berk, GotNF is centered around Snoggletog – Berk’s annual Yule tide tradition!
This year is different however when the dragons mysteriously fly off without warning, leaving the residents of Berk to try to find new traditions to cheer them up until the dragons return. Astrid’s idea of a new beverage to share for the holidays: yaknog!
After dozens of requests to make this… delicious beverage… over on TikTok, I new it was high time to bring this Snoggletog tradition to life!
Here’s What You Need
- Egg yolks: Thicken the drink and provide a rich, custardy base.
- Sugar: Sweetens and balances the flavors.
- Whole milk: Adds creaminess and body to the eggnog.
- Heavy cream: Contributes to the rich and velvety texture.
- Maple syrup: Imparts a unique, natural sweetness.
- Vanilla bean: Adds a warm, aromatic flavor.
- Cinnamon stick: Infuses the eggnog with a spicy warmth.
- Fresh nutmeg: Provides a nutty and slightly sweet spice note.
- Egg whites: Create a frothy, light texture when whipped.
- Brandy (optional): Adds depth and a warming kick for an alcoholic version.
First things first, let’s beat those egg yolks. Grab your whisk and mix the yolks with sugar until they’re pale and fluffy. Think of it as prepping your dragon for a smooth flight – gentle but effective.
Moving to the stove, we’re going to heat our milk, heavy cream, and a touch of maple syrup. Keep the flame moderate, just enough to get the mixture steaming but not boiling. We’re aiming for that sweet spot of about 160°F, like finding the perfect altitude for flying with your dragon.
Now, let’s temper those yolks. Gradually mix a bit of the warm milk into the yolks, stirring constantly. This is like easing your dragon into a new trick – slow and steady. Once they’re well-acquainted, combine the yolk mixture back into the pot, stirring away.
Let the mixture warm up on the stove until it slightly thickens, keeping an eye on it like you would on a playful Terrible Terror.
After it’s nicely thickened, take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, then off to the fridge to chill. Think of it as letting your dragon rest after a long day of flying.
For the final touch, whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until they form soft, fluffy peaks. Fold these gently into the chilled base, adding a splash of brandy if you’re in the mood for a bit of warmth.
Mix just enough to keep it thick and a bit chunky, true to Astrid’s style.
Tips for Perfect Yaknog:
- Tempering the eggs: Gradually adding warm milk to the yolks prevents them from curdling. This step is crucial for a smooth eggnog.
- Heating the mixture: Keep the heat medium-high and avoid boiling. Boiling can cause the eggs to scramble and ruin the texture.
- Adding spices: Infuse the milk with vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg for deep, complex flavors. Freshly grated spices are more aromatic.
- Whipping egg whites: Whip to soft peaks for a light, airy texture. Be careful not to over-whip, or the whites will become too stiff.
- Combining egg whites: Gently fold them into the base for a fluffy texture. Overmixing can deflate the whites and make the eggnog dense.
- Serving immediately: Yaknog is best enjoyed fresh. If it sits too long, the texture can separate.
- Using brandy: Adjust the amount to taste, and remember it’s optional. For a non-alcoholic version, omit the brandy.
As we wrap up our Snoggletog festivities with a mug of warm yaknog in hand, remember that every sip is a tribute to the adventurous spirits of Berk and its dragon riders. Whether you’re a fan of the How to Train Your Dragon series or just in search of a unique holiday treat, this recipe is sure to bring a bit of Berk’s warmth and whimsy to your table.
Gather your friends and family, raise a toast to the dragons that soar in our imaginations, and let the rich flavors of this special brew fill your home with joy and laughter.
Here’s to creating new traditions and keeping the spirit of Berk alive in our hearts!
Astrid’s Yaknog from Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury
- Using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks until frothy, then add in the half cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the yolks are pale. Set aside.
- Heat the milk, heavy cream, and maple syrup over medium-high heat, until the mixture is just steaming, or about 160°F. The liquids should not be simmering. Add the split vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and grated nutmeg and stir.
- Use a ladle to pour about 1 cup of the warmed dairy mix into the egg yolks. Whisk constantly so as not to scramble the yolks. Once mixed, slowly pour the yolk mixture back into the larger pot, stirring constantly.
- Bring the pot to a light simmer for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill fully.
- Once chilled, whip the egg whites until bubbly, then slowly pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whip until soft peaks form, about 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer the whipped egg whites to the chilled base. Stir in the brandy for an alcoholic version. Mix to the desired consistency – for an authentic Astrid-style yaknog, only mix about halfway so that the drink is thick and has 'chunks' of egg white throughout. Serve immediately and enjoy!