I love regional drinks. Sazerac in New Orleans, Mint Juleps in Kentucky, Singapore Slings in…well…Singapore. (not that I’ve been there) But until moving to the Great Lakes region had I ever heard of a Tom & Jerry? Come to find out, buying Tom & Jerry batter at your local store in northern Wisconsin is just part of the holiday routine. Since I have yet to find the frozen batter sold anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic, (please let us all know if you can find it!) here is the….very labor intensive…recipe. One note: this makes more batter than you may have friends, so feel free to cut in half.
12 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. butter, at room temperature
3 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, rum, or brandy flavoring
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
Do you remember this?
If you’re not hooked up to shore power, this is the most important tool you will need. If you don’t already have one from your grandmother or great aunt, good luck finding one. I can’t seem to find them any more.
Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Beat egg yolks with vanilla until light. Cream butter and powdered sugar; mix until crumbly. This can all be done with a hand mixer or your conventional egg beater.
Add egg yolks and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture; mix well. Add spices and egg whites; beat until well blended. At this point it’s best to get out your big wooden spoon to mix the rest.
To make the drinks: Place one heaping spoonful of batter in a coffee mug. Add a shot or two of rum or brandy.* Top with hot water, just boiling from the tea kettle. Mix until batter has dissolved. Sprinkle or grate nutmeg on top and serve hot.
* An Annapolis variation on this is “Tom & Sailor Jerry’s.” You guessed it. Use Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum; so sweet it makes your teeth hurt. But is sure does warm the innards!
The best thing about this batter is that it can be frozen for many weeks. Make it for Thanksgiving and it will last you through New Years. Just scoop out a spoonful of the frozen batter, place in your coffee cup and top with rum, hot water and nutmeg.