Again, not a Tuscan recipe, limoncello originates in the lemon-rich coastal area south of Naples, but it's a liqueur we make each winter even in the heart of Tuscany. It's marvellous that oranges and lemons ripen when we most need their vitamin C and bright colours.
ratio: 12 lemons:1k sugar:1l water:1l alcohol
1 kilo/5 cups/35.2 ounces (or less to taste) sugar
1 litre/4.22 cups/33.8 fluid ounces of 95% proof ethyl alcohol
1 litre ditto water
Scrape/peel or grate the zest only from the lemons, leaving the white pith, and steep in the alcohol in a covered jug or bowl overnight. The alcohol will draw all the lemon essence and much colour from the zest
Make a sugar syrup by blending hot (just boiled) water with sugar (you can also cook them a bit but usually the sugar will dissolve well in the very hot water)
Next day strain off and discard the lemon zest and add the yellow lemon liquor to the syrup: voila'!
If the syrup is warm when you blend it with the alcohol the limoncello will be cloudy; if it is cold it will be clear
There is no need to 'age' it.
|use clean recycled bottles and cork firmly|
Some people keep the limoncello in the fridge as they like it cold, but we don't...still, it's delicious cold in summer
It's also excellent drizzled on ice-cream or pancakes/crepes and added to cake recipes..
You can make a version of limoncello with mixed citrus or just limes or mandarins or oranges or even grapefruit. Always use untreated fruits.
|a mix of citrus makes agrumetto|
Afterwards you will have 12 bald lemons to deal with: these are perfect for lemon curd/butter/cheese for lemon tart or simply to squeeze and freeze the juice in ice cube trays for a handy extra supply of pure lemon juice...Or make homemade lemonade for the non-limoncello crowd.
|unfortunately this is not our lemon tree|
Sadly we have to buy our untreated lemons: the climate at Le Ripe is plenty hot in summer but too cold in winter. We drag our lemon trees in and out of shelter each change of season, but they often suffer from being trapped indoors so long. I have resigned myself to never having a plentiful harvest...unless one day we can conjure up a limonaia (an orangerie for lemons)...
|aren't lemons wonderful|