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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 09:32 am

Limoncello crema

(Italian lemon cream liqueur)


Limoncello is a traditional sweet lemon liqueur made in southern Italy, usually served as an after-dinner drink. There are a few commercial cream versions, but most contain only alcohol, sugar syrup and lemon peel.

Limoncello is pricey, but inexpensive and surprisingly easy to make at home. Even the cream version below is a snap, and so decadently delicious, it’s worth the extra step. Though it tastes rich and creamy, the recipe uses only lowfat milk. If you can find Meyer lemons (they’re now just coming into season), use them: their fragrant perfume makes this even better. Italians serve limoncello straight up, in small glasses, but it’s also good over crushed ice.

  • 6 – 8 lemons
  • 2 c. vodka (the vodka should be good quality, but an expensive top-flight brand isn’t necessary)
  • 8 c. (1/2 gallon) low-fat milk, either one or two percent
  • 1 c. sugar

Zest the lemons (remove the peel) with a fine mesh grater, being careful to avoid as much of the bitter white pith as possible. Combine the grated peel with the vodka in a glass jar or bottle, swirl to combine, and let stand for four days, giving the jar a swirl occasionally.

Combine the milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan, preferably non-stick, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook at a low simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced to 4 cups, about half an hour. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Pour the lemon-flavored vodka through a fine mesh strainer into the milk mixture. Discard the lemon zest. Chill the limoncello crema thoroughly before serving. Keeps, refrigerated, for a month or more. Makes about 6 c., enough to fill two 750ml bottles.
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