Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crema de la Crema

In Italy there is a favored after dinner drink called Limoncello. It’s distilled alcohol infused with lemon rind and sweetened up with simple syrup, basically. You can buy it or make your own. I’ve always found limoncello to be a little harsh tasting so when my neighbors poured me a little Crema di Limoncello last summer I was wowed. They bought it at Bev Mo, but when my lemons started ripening with a vengeance I decided to try my hand at making it. I found a recipe online which looked easy but also looked a little sweet – I didn’t want to drink a creamsicle! So I made the milk and sugar as instructed but didn’t add it all at once, tasting as I went, and I ended up using about 25% less sweet milk than called for. The result was delicious, sweet but not too sweet, a little lemony, you can taste the vodka but not overpowering. Serve in shot glasses. Note: classically it’s made with high octane Everclear, but I used Tito’s, a good quality, reasonably priced vodka. Don’t drink the cheap stuff. Just sayin’.

Crema di Limoncello

Makes 1 ½ quarts. Doubles just fine.

5 lemons
½ bottle (750ml bottle) good vodka
3 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Zest lemons using zester or microplane. Use lemons for juice or some other delicacy. Place the zest and vodka in a covered container in a cool dark place for at least a week. Strain the vodka through a double mesh strainer into another non reactive container.

In a sauce pan warm the milk, sugar and vanilla over medium heat, stirring until dissolved. No boiling! This doesn’t take long. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, which takes about an hour or so.

Combine the infused vodka with the sweet milk. I didn’t have any curdling but if you do just strain it out. Keep in the freezer, leaving room in the bottle for expansion. Mine freezes solid so take it out a while before you plan to serve. It tastes best very cold. Cheers!