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The delicate flavor of eggnog makes delectable desserts

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The Christmas holiday is marked by many activities occurring only once a year. Cookie cutters, carol books, and Christmas wreaths are hauled out of cardboard boxes and dusted off once again for a brief but happy time. For many the taste of eggnog is also a tradition, it too being enjoyed but once a year.

It brings back childhood memories of family get-togethers and open houses at the neighbors, of tables laden with sweets, and special cookies and candies made for this warm and happy season.

The first glass of eggnog makes one wonder why its delicate flavor is savored but two or three months out of the year. It is in itself a dessert in a glass, loaded with creamy richness.

The dictionary definition of eggnog is eggs beaten with sugar and milk, but there's no skimping when it comes to producing a truly delectable nog. The dairy products must be top-notch.

Since eggnog is commercially available only during the Christmas holiday, there's no reason to confine the flavor of eggnog to only a beverage.

Here are some different recipes. Try them for a new twist on an old favorite during this Christmas season. Mincemeat Eggnog Pie 2 cups prepared mincemeat 1 9-inch pastry shell, baked and cooled 1 3 5/8- or 3 3/4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix 2 cups light cream 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Spoon mincemeat into bottom of pastry shell, reserving 2 tablespoons, if desired, for garnish.

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions using the light cream and nutmeg in place of milk.

Let stand until mixture mounds when spooned, about 1/2 minute. Immediately turn into mincemeat-lined pastry shell. Chill several hours.

To serve, sprinkle with additional nutmeg and garnish with more mincemeat. Eggnog Chocolate Chiffon Pie 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs 1/4 cup sugar 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin 1/3 cup cold water 2 cups dairy eggnog 1 cup whipping cream 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries 1 square (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate, grated 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter or margarine; mix well. Press into 9-inch pie plate.

In saucepan, soften gelatin in water; add 1 cup of the eggnog. Heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in remaining eggnog.

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