Thursday, April 28, 2016

Limoncello recipe

Our friend Christine makes an excellent limoncello, not too sweet. This is her recipe:

  • 400 ml alcohol
  • 5 lemons (unwaxed)
  • 500 ml water
  • 200 gm sugar
  • Remove the zest from the lemons
  • Put the zest in a jar with the alcohol
  • Leave in the dark for 15 days
  • Strain out the zest
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water
  • Combine the sugar syrup with the alcohol
  • Leave in the dark for one month
  • Drink
Not being sure of the lemons in the market we stole five lemons from Chris's tree (with her permission). Guaranteed unwaxed and pesticide free.

One unusual feature of Italian supermarkets compared to the UK is that you can buy pure alcohol (95%) for culinary purposes in just about any store. Some recipes suggest using vodka, if neat alcohol is not available, but that will be 30% water so you would only need about 300 ml of the sugar syrup to keep the ratio of alcohol to water correct.

Then all you need is a jar or two and a zester. You could use a knife but a zester allows you to precision de-rind the lemon without any bitter pith.

Two weeks later and the alcohol has leached out the oils and flavours from the zest.

Chris's recipe only uses 200 gm of sugar but some I found on the internet that used nearly 5 times that amount! If it is too tart you can always add more sugar later but you cannot take it out if there is too much.

The combination of the water and the oils makes limoncello turn the typically cloudy appearance.

Now all I have to do is let it mature in the dark ready for our next visit.

Update: After five years I tweaked the recipe reducing the alcohol from 500 ml to 400 ml. It was a bit too fiery and the syrup came out at about 600 ml so the final mix wouldn’t fit in a 1 litre bottle which bugged me. Now it’s just right, to my taste. 
Also I have been experimenting with orange-cello and lime-cello. The orange version is now my go-to recipe as we are frequently offered limoncello in restaurants here in Puglia and it is nice to have something different at home. Using soft brown sugar or Demerara sugar for the syrup gives it a distinctly marmalade-like flavour.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Puglia lemons (straight from the tree) make the best limoncello ever!