Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Monday, March 08, 2010

When life gives you lemons~

When life gives you lemons~ Make Limoncello!
For those of you who may not be familiar with this Italian Lemon liqueur, it is light and very lemony... like lemon pledge smells. Just a sip of it reminds me of an evening under the Tuscan stars. I have been wanting to try to make this for a while. While I am posting every day in March... this is the perfect time to post through the whole process. There are a lot of recipes around, this one is from my friend Deborah . I am going to post the entire process here so I will have it all in one place~ You'll have to follow along for updates. Or better yet, let's do it together! She has done a great job of listing the things we need and spelling out the process.
"Deborah Horn’s Limoncello Recipe
One Bottle (750 ml) Everclear (95% alcohol 190 Proof)
One Bottle (750 ml) good but not necessarily premium vodka (40% alcohol 80 Proof)
15 large thick skinned bright yellow lemons (without scars or flaws in the skin if possible.)
750 ml (about 3 cups) filtered tap water or distilled water (not mineral water)
4 cups pure cane white sugar (This will give thin syrup consistency, if you prefer a thicker syrup, experiment with increasing your sugar by 1-2 cups.)

Tools list:
A very clean and dry gallon glass jar (the kind you make sun tea in is perfect)
Large supplies of unbleached cone coffee filters. (Half of them #2 size and half of them #4 size)
22 clean, 100 ml. bottles that seal tightly. (I found mine at Cost Plus/World Market. They are clear glass with narrow necks. The ceramic looking white hard plastic stoppers have orange rubber gaskets and built in metal hasps to hold the stopper tight. They cost about $1.99 each. One large gallon sized glass (pyrex style) pitcher.
One cup sized metric measuring cup
One punch ladle.
Two funnels with ¼ inch mouths (one should have a bowl capacity to fit the #4 coffee filter, the other to fit the #2 coffee filter)

Step One
Day 1:
Pour the bottle of Everclear and the bottle of vodka into the gallon jar.
Try to use organic lemons or make sure that lemons are cleaned to remove all pesticides, dirt, and fertilizer chemicals. Dry lemons.
Use a potato peeler to peel just the yellow part of the skin off the lemons. Make sure you have NO white pith on the back of the peels, because this causes bitterness in the finished liqueur. Try to make the peel pieces as large as possible, because this will make the straining process easier.
Put the lemon peels in the gallon jar and stir gently.
Cover tightly and put away in a cool (not cold) dark place for alcohol to extract oils from peels, creating an infusion.

Days 8, 22, & 36:
Gently stir lemon peels to refresh exposure to alcohol.
Return to cool, dark place.

Day 43:
Gently stir lemon peels.
Scoop out one of the larger peels and test flexibility. If peel breaks like a potato chip, you will move on to the next step. If peel is still flexible enough to bend without breaking, return to cool dark place and try again in another week.

Step Two
Day 1:
Dissolve sugar in water and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes.
Set syrup aside to cool. (Must be room temp before adding to infusion.)
Use a slotted spoon to gently scoop lemon peels from the infusion and discard. (To avoid creating small pieces that will make straining more difficult, try not to break peels as you remove them.)
Using the larger funnel, the ladle, and #4 coffee filters, slowly strain infusion through filters into large pitcher. (This is a messy process. The filters will clog quickly and you will use many of them.)
Rinse and dry gallon jar.
Repeat straining process, transferring infusion from pitcher to original gallon jar by straining again through #4 coffee filters.
Return filtered infusion to jar and add COOLED syrup.
Return to cool dry place for 40 days to begin mellowing process that combines alcohol infusion with syrup to create Limoncello.

Day 40:
Begin filtering Limoncello. Use punch ladle to pour a small amount into a filter-lined funnel held over the small measuring cup.
Fill measuring cup to an even ml level. (100, 200, 300, etc.)
Using smaller funnel and #2 sized filters, filter one last time into individual 100-ml bottles.
You have now filtered the liqueur a total of 4 times.
Seal bottles VERY tightly. (Remember—If you are using different bottles and are sealing them by corking -- corks breathe. So consider dipping the neck several times in melted wax after corking.)
Label and/or tag bottles.
Return to cool dark place for storage.

Your Limoncello is now ready to enjoy. However, the longer it sits and 'ages' the smoother it becomes.

I start my batches in the spring/summer when the lemons are at their best. Then I give it as gifts at Christmas time. Since Limoncello is a favorite warm weather treat it will have aged an entire year by the time most people drink it. VERY smooth and delicious!
Limoncello is best when served directly from the freezer.

Ingredients: beverage alcohol; distilled water; pure cane sugar, & lemon oil infused from the peel of fresh lemons.
100 ml -- 45% alcohol by volume" Thank you Deborah!!! Now my process begins.
Y'all enjoy,


Char said...

sounds so delish - i've seen pound cake recipes using this product too. yum

nanny said...

I brought a beautiful bottle of Limoncello home when I went to Capri in 2003.....haven't opened it...don't want it to be gone!

Now I can make my own (thanks for recipe)

I love, love lemons and anything made with them!!!

I'll have to create a post with a picture of my pretty bottle and link it to your recipe!

Deborah said...

Hi Sandi. Rereading my instructions from several years ago, I'd like to let you know that you can simplify it some.
First, thing I've found that if your peels are thick, they might never reach that brittle stage. So, if it seems strong enough, don't wait for brittle.
Second, I haven't seen those little bottles in a long time. So now I use larger ones. But they still have the metal hasp closure.

Dar said...

Wow, that sounds absolutely refreshing. I have made vishnik but never lemoncello. I must try this...and take it to my sis in TX...thanks for sharing Sandi and Deborah...
Have a great week of eats and drinks

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Char~ I posted a Limoncello cheesecake several years ago... it is still a favorite
Nanny~ life is short girl put that limoncello in the freezer and share it with friends.
Deborah~ thank you for popping in and helping with your words of advice. you are the hoochie momma!
Dar~ I have no idea what vishnik is... I'll have to check that out.

Elz said...

You are so patient to try this!

Bo said...

I really want to try this! I have a bottle of store bought limoncello...but have only used maybe 2 tbs out of it to make a cake. Maybe I'll make some cocktails with I can use it up and have a reason to make a homemade batch.

Anonymous said...

does anyone have a link or store where I can find re-sealable 100 ml bottles for the Limoncello ?

Related Posts with Thumbnails