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bellsmom

Need a great Limoncello recipe

bellsmom
9 years ago

After enjoying a great limoncello tiramisu at lunch yesterday, I want to make some limoncello. There are recipes on Epicurious and Food Network, among other places. I have never made it before, so it is hard to judge which to use.

Do YOU have a favorite recipe for limoncello or hints for great results? Please share recipes and suggestions.

Sandra

Comments (22)

  • skeip
    9 years ago

    Try this one, I have used it for years and it's really good. Don't skimp on the Vodka and use a lower proof. The 100 proof allows you to store it in the freezer w/o freezing solid. The lemon peel can be in large strips or chunks, no white pith tho, doesn't have to be tiny, tiny pieces

    LIMONCELLO

    2 Cups 100-proof Vodka
    Zest of Five Lemons
    2 Cups Water
    1 ý Cups Sugar

    Combine Vodka and Lemon Zest in a 1-quart covered glass Jar, let stand at room temperature for 3 days.

    Make a simple syrup by heating the Water and Sugar over medium heat, stir until Sugar dissolves.

    Stir the syrup into the jar containing the Vodka. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discard the Lemon Zest. Pour into clean jars, cap tightly and store in the freezer. Serve well chilled in small glasses.

    Steve

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Steve,
    Thank you for your response. I had read that 100 proof Vodka was important.

    Some recipes recommend letting peel and vodka stand for much longer before adding the syrup. One recipe said let stand for at least ten days and up to 40 days, and says the longer it "steeps", the better the flavor. Then another extended aging after the syrup is added.

    I hope someone can speak to the importance of a long aging/steeping time vs. your shorter 3-day time.

    Sandra

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  • annie1992
    9 years ago

    I've made this recipe several times using fresh Meyer lemons from Beachlily the last couple of times. I never bother to use 100 proof vodka, I just don't use the cheapest stuff possible. Linda/doucanoe made it first for a Forum get together in Chicago and it was a hit there too.

    Limoncello
    from BH&G "Italian"

    10 large lemons
    1 750ml bottle of good vodka
    3 c sugar
    2-1/2 c water

    Scrub lemons well. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove enough of the yellow peel to make 2 cups. (Juice lemons and save juice for another use).

    In large glass pitcher or bowl, combine the lemon peel and the vodka. Cover tightly and let stand in a cool place for 10 days, gently swirling the mixture in the container ach day. At the end of 10 days, strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discard the lemon peel. Return the lemon-infused vodka to the pitcher.

    For syrup: In medium saucepan, combibe sugar and water. Bring just to boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature. Pour syrup into infused odka, stir to combine. Cover and chill overnight before serving.
    Pour into clean bottles with lids and store in refrigerator up to one month.

    Linda's notes: Made as written it was a little bitter so I added some of the reserved lemon juice. In the future I am going to make the simple syrup using half lemon juice and half water. The addition of the lemon juice made it much more "lemony".

    I know mine has been left sitting in the back of the refrigerator in a quart Ball jar for a month or two without noticeable "harm".

    Annie

  • party_music50
    9 years ago

    I've been making Limoncello for many years using a recipe a friend got from 'Naples at Table':

    1 qt. grain alcohol (if not available, use 150 proof Vodka)
    2 lbs lemons (12 small to 8 large, preferably organic and greenish)
    6 cups water
    2 1/2 cups sugar

    If sweeter limoncello is desired, use 5 1/3 cups water to 3 3/4 cups sugar.

    1. Peel lemons w/ swivel peeler, avoiding white pith.
    2. Put lemon peel in 1/2 gallon jar w/ tight fitting lid. Pour alcohol over peels. Let stand 2-4 days, out of sunlight, shaking the jar several times a day.
    3. When lemon peels are pale/white and as crisp as parchment, you've extracted all their oil. Strain alcohol and discard peels.
    4. Make a sugar syrup: In saucepan combine water and sugar and stir over med. heat til sugar dissolves and syrup is clear. Do not let it boil. Let it cool to room temp.
    5. Stir syrup into infused alcohol. Mixture will turn cloudy. Pour through funnel into 2 clear dry bottles. (Can be strained through cheesecloth but usually not necessary if careful peeling lemons). Close bottles.
    6. Best if allowed to sit for a week or so before drinking.
    Best served in tiny frozen glasses after being stored direct from freezer.

    So... the answer to your questions:
    Let it steep until you've extracted all oil from peels... meaning they will be white and crispy and the alcohol will be quite yellow. Then let it sit at least a week or two after bottling to let the flavors meld and mellow.

    Bottles with a swing-type closure work best for limoncello and my freezer always has a bottle in it. :)

  • doucanoe
    9 years ago

    100 proof vodka is a must unless you plan to drink it all in a month or so. You can't store it in the freezer if you use a lower proof, and stored in the fridge it won't last as long.

    For my recipe as Annie posted above , I now do make the simple syrup using half lemon juise and half water and it turns out really good and lemony. I also put a couple of lemon halves in with the vodka and lemon peel to "marinate".

    Linda

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thank you, everybody, for all the useful hints.

    Party Music, I just remembered that I have a large bottle of 190 proof grain alcohol that I bought years ago to use to blend pastels (art stick thingees). Never used it for that. It is still unopened.

    Is the idea of using vodka for the alcohol base that it is relatively flavorless? Grain alcohol sounds like it would be perfect.

    Doucanoe and Annie, I think I will use some lemon juice in the syrup, as you recommend.

    Now just gotta go get some lemons. Sounds like a great project--and good gifts for my next lunch bunch get together.

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Got the lemons. Now just gotta get some time. Incredible how packed my day gets. Tonight I am fixing jasmine rice, lemon zest, green onions, parsley, and olive oil--a family favorite--with grilled trout and tomatoes.

    Tomorrow I should have time to carefully peel a dozen or two lemons (they are small) and drop the peels into a 2 quart jar, add grain alcohol, and smile. The smile will probably take the most time.

    And that will all I need to do with the limoncello for a few days!

    Thanks again to all who gave hints and experiences.

    Sandra

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    When I was in Tuscany, everywhere I went served limoncello after the meal. One restaurant really stood out (in a good way) and when I asked the owner about it, he mentioned his family always added a vanilla bean to the lemons and alcohol as it was steeping.

    I have made it this way ever since -- and its wonderful!

    I also mix in the zest of 1 or 2 limes with about a dozen lemons when I make it. It subtly gives a little more complexity.

    Cheers,
    Andy

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Andy,

    2 great additions for my first limoncello.
    I have errands to do this morning. I'll pick up 2 limes. I already have vanilla beans.

    This afternoon, I plan to peel lemons--and limes!

    Sandra

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    Sandra,
    One other thing...once you make it, you wind up making lots more :) I have made lemon, orange and limecello and all are really good. I have steeping now a grapefruitcello (which admittedly may not be that good), and have made a fragola (strawberry "cello", using the whole fruit vs. peels). I plan on doing a limonblueberry cello for a change of pace...

    I have used 100 proof vodka as well as Everclear, and contrary to what I would have thought (and read), we all preferred the everclear version -- but I do make mine a little extra sweet.

    Limecello benefits from less steeping time, as it tastes less fresh after a few weeks, also limecello without vanilla is more margaritalike, with vanilla is more sherbet like.

    I used to use a microplane to get the thinnest outer layer without the pith, and its relatively quick. I highly recommend using something similar, as using other ways (veggie peeler, knife, etc) you introduce more bitter pith.

    When you decide (as I have) that you will be making limoncello in quantity for life, you can invest in a Zip Zester. It ain't cheap, but it mows through citrus like nobodies business.

    Andy

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    BTW -- At the risk of self-promoting my foodie blog, but my go-to limoncello recipe is there (and linked below) if you are interested...

    PS -- Yes its a bit stagnant there, I've been drinking too much limoncello to post lately :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: My limoncello blog post

  • Teresa_MN
    9 years ago

    Hello Andy and welcome to the forum. I love limoncello! and your blog looks very interesting. Steve and Party - your recipes sound good also. I can't remember what recipe I used when I last made it - but I used a Budha's hand instead of lemons and it was fantastic!

    I won't be making anytime soon but will tuck the recipes away for another time.

    Teresa

    This post was edited by teresa_mn on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 9:03

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Andy
    Loved your blog. I'll read more of it later. Since I already have the EverClear, your recipe is the one I will use. Didn't get to it yesterday. Hope to today.

    And by the way--I do NOT need a zipzester. I DO NOT NEED a zipzester. IDONOTNEEDAZIPZESTER.
    I keep telling myself.

    Thanks again.
    Sandra

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    Sandra,
    Thanks! Hate to break it to you, but you NEED a zip zester :) ... Make sure you get the microplane blade too!

    I have no ties to the company, and actually "invented" something close before I found the real thing (while doing a preliminary patent search). What you can do it buy one of those $20 cranked apple peelers/corer, unscrew the blade and screw in a microplane zester in its place. You'll need to make a hole in the zester blade to mount it. So for ~35 bucks you get something not quite as elegant as the zip zester, but it worked well for a few batches for me. The yield and neatness on the zip zester is indeed much better though.

    This whole post inspired me to make a tripleberry (straw, blue and black) cello this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    PS strictly speaking, none of the non citrus zest liquors are "cellos", but hey when you make your own hooch you can call it what you want!

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    9 years ago

    Hi Andyman, welcome to the Cooking Forum!

    Great blog you got there.

    Cook something to show us.

    Happy Rosh Hashanah. Shana Tova! Are you making something special?

    dcarch

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Andy,
    Thanks to you and other GWers, my first lot of limoncello is in a jar in the pantry.
    And I zested an additional 1 1/2 dozen lemons with my swivel zester/peeler to freeze the "twists" for my pre-dinner help-me-through-the cooking martinis.
    Then I juiced all 2 1/2 dozen lemons (and the two limes) and have the first batch of juice freezing in an ice cube tray. This will take a while--at least two more, maybe three, trays to go. Then they get dumped into a bag and are wonderful for summer lemonade. Not sure what I will use them for come cool weather.
    (I DO love the Breville citrus juicer. One of my better toys. So quick and so very little waste.)

    I used a microplane zester on the limes, which I could not peel with my swivel zester blade thingee without getting white pith. The zester I use has a catch basin and is another of my favorite kitchen tools. I linked it below. A really nice toy. I have others I bought before I found this one, but they just sit in the drawer. This is the go-to microplane for me.

    Thank you SO much for your help and the link to your blog. I will look forward to your future posts on GW, including the one about your triple-berry non-cello cello.

    Sandra

    Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Zester and catch basin

    This post was edited by Bellsmom on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 20:35

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    OOOPS.
    Edited to remove duplicate post.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Zester and catch basin

    This post was edited by Bellsmom on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 20:26

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    dcarch, thanks! Nothing special for Rosh Hoshana, and I've been in a bit of a cooking rut lately to show anything interesting (here or my blog). :(

    Maybe this thread will inspire something, although your stuff does get the creative juices flowing (I've been a part time poster/lurker here for eons).

    Sandra,
    Let me know how it turns out, I'll have a little tonight in your honor!

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    9 years ago

    Andyman, I have an idea for a dish for Rosh Hoshana I want to tryout.

    I love to cook for any holiday theme.

    dcarch

  • andyman
    9 years ago

    dcarch, do tell...would like to hear about it!

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    9 years ago

    Tell?

    Come back the next few days to check it out.

    Always, I do deliver nice holiday dishes :-) :-) :-)

    dcarch

  • bellsmom
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Andy
    The only hard part of your recipe is going to be waiting "several weeks" for the lemon to steep in the alcohol.
    I must admit I used a spoon to stir the lemon peels and surreptitiously licked it clean after. Wasn't bad after only three days!
    I will let you know. Thanks again.

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