I am taking a brief unplanned diversion from my pizza series (I’ll do my third pizza post next week). I recently posted a couple of pictures on Facebook of me starting a batch of Limoncello. I got so many people asking for the recipe that I thought I better post it to avoid a rebellion. I also mentioned a couple of dessert (dolce!) recipes made from the Limoncello. I will post those soon.
Limoncello is a lemon liqueur which is primarily produced in the southern coastal areas of Italy, such as the gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. It is made from fresh lemon peel, alcohol, water and sugar. Traditionally it is served chilled (from the freezer) as an after dinner digestivo.
Limoncello is super easy to make; however it needs time to steep properly (weeks or even a month or two). So start your batch soon so you can enjoy it when the weather warms up!
Recipes I’ve worked with vary widely in how long to steep the lemons in the alcohol, and then again after the simple syrup (of sugar and water) is added. Essentially, the longer it steeps, the better it will be; yet you hit a point of diminishing return, where the differences are so subtle it is hard to even differentiate. Here is a tip for you… if you want to speed up the process, you can always add more lemon peels than what the recipe calls for. Just don’t go crazy or the lemon flavor might overwhelm.
In addition to the ingredients listed you will need a large glass jar, such as you would use to make sun tea. You will also need enough clear, sealable glass bottles to accommodate nearly 8 cups (about 1800 ml) of finished Limoncello. In my experience, World Market is a good place to find both the glass jar and the small bottles. You will also need a veggie peeler (see note further down).
How to make it:
Unless you are using organic lemons, wash them with produce wash or soap to remove any residue of pesticides or wax. Dry with a clean towel before proceeding.
The next step will be to remove the peel from the lemons in long strips using a vegetable peeler. You want to avoid getting an excessive amount of the white pith, which will lend bitterness. In the past I used an standard vegetable peeler and had a fair amount of the white pith, which I then tried to trim off with a pairing knife… a bit of a pain. This time I used a Titan peeler (see photo left) and it was fabulous! I was able to get clean strips of peel with almost no white pith! So, I highly recommend buying one, though be careful, they are super sharp. I cut my finger with it once so was a little intimidated. But if you hold it properly and don’t peel toward your fingers, you’ll be fine.
After peeling the lemons, save what remains for another use (such as making fresh squeezed lemonade).
The next steps are to steep the lemon peels in alcohol and then later create a simple syrup which you combine with that, and then steep a bit longer. I’ll refer you to the recipe for the rest of the information. Be sure to read the Frankie’s Tips on page 2 of the recipe before proceeding.
Download PDF Recipe or Click on Recipe below