Cubans have their own version of eggnog known as crema de vie, and if you have a sweet tooth, you’ve got to try it! The Spanish translation for Crema de Vie is cream of life, and I can see why it’s called that. It tastes a lot like spiked flan because it has very similar ingredients.
I like to drink my crema de vie as I’m cooking. It makes it feel more like Christmas. Because when you live in Miami, you need a little help getting in the Christmas mood while it’s 80 degrees outside, so every little bit of Cuban eggnog helps!
Ingredients In My Delicious Crema De Vie
The reason I love this Cuban eggnog is that it tastes a lot like spiked flan. Like my caramel flan, crema de vie is made with eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. In fact, I always drink a bit of the flan when I make it because it tastes so good!
Crema de vie has two more ingredients not found in flan, though. Star anise syrup and rum are added to the mix. Not all recipes use star anise, some use cinnamon instead. But I love the flavor of the star anise in this Cuban eggnog recipe. And, I always sprinkle a little cinnamon on top, so you get all the Christmas flavors going on!
Now be warned, crema de vie is super sweet. I make mine with less sugar than most, but it’s still really sweet. The syrup contains one cup of sugar, and that’s in addition to a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. What can I say, Cubans are sweet ❤️
The rum helps cut down the level of sweetness, so it balances out the flavor. But eggnog is a sweet drink, whether you make the Cuban crema de vie or the traditional version. I use only half a cup of rum in the recipe, but you can add more if you like your eggnog very boozy. I stick to half a cup because that way, those who don’t like it super boozy can enjoy it, and the rest can add a little more.
To Cook Or Not To Cook The Eggs
Crema de vie is made with raw eggs, six egg yolks to be precise. Cubans don’t cook their eggnog. My mom says Cubans have been drinking it this way forever, and no one ever gets sick… that’s Mami’s logic for you!
However, if you’re giving it as a gift or bringing it to a gathering, you may feel better cooking the eggs. So, this recipe has an optional cooking step. Cooking the yolks takes a little patience because you don’t want the eggs to cook too much or too fast, or you’ll end up with lumpy eggnog. Nobody wants that. So, it’s important to temper the eggs first (this means gradually introducing little amounts of warm milk to the yolks). You also need to cook at a low heat and stir constantly.
Give The Crema De Vie A Day To Settle
I gotta be honest, if you taste this Cuban eggnog right after it’s done, it’s not that great. The flavors need a little time to settle and get to know each other. So refrigerate the nog overnight before serving and always keep refrigerated.
Try some Cuban eggnog this Christmas, and let me know how you like it!Print
Crema de vie (aka Cuban eggnog) is a traditional Cuban drink made with sweetened condensed milk, rum and star anise. So good!
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 star anise (2 full stars)
- Cinnamon for garnish
Make Simple Syrup
- Mix 2 cups of water, 1 cup sugar and two star anise. Add to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Let cool.
- Remove the star anise from the cooled syrup and add to a blender, along with the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, rum, vanilla and pinch of salt. Blend on low for a few minutes.
- Strain and pour into a bottle and refrigerate overnight. You need to give the flavors some time to mellow and get to know each other.
If you have an issue with using raw eggs, you can cook the eggs:
- Heat the evaporated milk over medium heat until it’s warm, but not boiling. Should take about 8-10 minutes .
- Beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then slowly add a few spoonfuls of the milk to the eggs to temper them. Continue to add the warm milk to the eggs a bit at a time. You don’t want the eggs to cook. Once you’ve added all the milk to the eggs, return to the pot and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t settle and cook at the bottom of the pan. Let it cool and strain before mixing with the other ingredients. Blend as indicated above.
Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight before using, it’s much better that way.
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