Culver City Observer -

By Cheryl Giraud
Special to the Observer 

The Recipe Spot


January 1, 2013

Pop the champagne cork because it’s time to ring in the New Year on Monday night.

With an effervescent mood in the air, the turn of the year is an auspicious time to turn away the old year and face the new one.

New Year’s Day is the oldest and most universal holiday. The earliest recording of a New Year’s Eve celebration is thought to have taken place in Mesopotamia, c 2000 B.C.

The origins of the first day of the year can be traced to the Romans who were the first to observe New Year’s Day in 153 B.C.

One symbol of the New Year is the two-sided face of the Roman God Janus who presided over January, looking both backwards and forwards representing the link between the past and future.

In ancient times, different cultures began the New Year on different dates according to a variety of agriculture and astronomical calculations.

But it was Pope Gregory XIII who instituted the Gregorian calendar in 1582, officially setting January 1st as New Year’s Day.

As the old year is banished and a spirit of goodwill is in the air welcoming the New Year as a festival of renewal, the last day of the year is typically celebrated communally with a variety of customs and practices worldwide.

With so many modern traditions associated with ringing in the New Year at the stroke of midnight, one of the most common traditions, aside from making New Year’s resolutions, is singing Robert Burns,’ ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ Published in 1788, it means, ‘times gone by.’

As midnight strikes, toasting out the old year and toasting in the new one with a glass of champagne along with messages of good health and happiness, this time-honored tradition is a popular custom with almost everyone worldwide.

If your New Year’s Eve plans include gathering with friends, the evening can be one of the highlights of the mid-winter festivities.

But if gathering at a large, formal event is not your style to ring in the New Year, why not start the New Year off right by inviting friends over for a more laid-back celebration and indulge in a few desserts by setting up a dessert buffet.

As you herald in the New Year, the holiday table should also look festive and sparkly, making the evening a truly memorable start to the New Year.

Accompanied with a glass of champagne or traditional wassail punch, this easy to prepare recipe for Eggnog Custard Pie is best when it’s made the day before the big celebration.

Gathering around with special friends and a spirit of optimism, it’s important to insure the evening ends on an uplifting note, so put your best foot forward and let the party begin.

Eggnog Custard Pie

1 deep-dish frozen pie crust

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk

½ cup eggnog

2 Tbsp. rum

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. salt

Ground cinnamon and nutmeg

Whip cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove frozen pie crust from the freezer and poke holes in the bottom and along the sides of the crust using a fork. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium speed until well blended. Add evaporated milk, eggnog, rum, vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until well combined. Pour mixture into the pie crust (there may be some left over). Lightly sprinkle a mixture of ground cinnamon and nutmeg over the top. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and then refrigerate overnight. Garnish with whip cream


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