Saturday, May 09, 2009

A splash of Tuscany in the California springtime (Limoncello for the layman)

This entry will be revised and completed over the course of the next week. (picture is of a half-recipe)

Unfortunately, not even our NY counterparts can pop over to Italy whenever they need a classic refreshing spring/summer drink (though they do better than most), so here is an original Italian Limoncello recipe to hold us all over. (Ironically this actually does require a trip to Italy, or at least some country that sells 100% pure Italian Alcohol that isn't available in the US). 

What's required for a full recipe (can be easily halved):
1 1L bottle of pure Alcohol (from Italy preferably.... buy in quantity and summon friends to do so as well)
10 Eureka Lemons - the freshest and thickest skinned ones possible.
Up to 350g Sugar
1L Water
3L Sealable glass jug (see picture)
1L Sealable glass jog/bottle to store and serve from

Step 1
Peel the lemons using either a paring knife or a potato peeler, which I think is easier. Just remove the yellow part of the skin, make sure not to include any of the white pith as it will make the Limoncello bitter. Place all the skins in the 3L jug and pour the 1L bottle of alcohol over them. Seal and shake vigorously to coat all the lemon. Place in a cool dark place like a cabinet and let sit for 5 days making sure to shake it at least once a day as the alcohol soaks in all the lemon flavor. The rest of the lemon is not needed so make lemonade or freeze the juice.

Step 2
Now it's time to combine tings and make the final Limoncello (it's been 5 days). First measure out 1L of water (the same amount of water as pure alcohol used) and measure out approx 250g of sugar. [If you used very sweet lemons like Meyer then use less sugar, maybe 200g, but it's all a matter of taste, trail and error. You can use up to 350g of sugar if you enjoy it more syrupy and don't like the alcohol taste or much less if you like it to be more pungent]. Put the sugar in a small saucepan with about 200ml of water. Over very low heat just melt the sugar - do not go all the way to the clear point, just dissolve it nicely into the water and set aside for a moment.

Next strain the lemons out of the glass jar and into a bowl that can hold twice the volume. While the lemons are still in a strainer, pour the remaining water over them to rinse off the remaining alcohol (save the leftover lemons to use for many other things like drink toppings or in desserts). Pour the mixture back into the now empty 3L glass jug and then pour in the warm melted sugar mixture. Seal the jar and give it a good strong 20 second shake. - finito!

Store the Limoncello in the freezer; I recommend decanting smaller portions of it into 750ml or 1L bottles to serve from. Chianti bottles with the straw on he outside are nice because you can hold them easily when frozen.  


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Anonymous Jenny said...

Now that's what I call a splash of genius:*

10:38 PM  

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