Een paar sfeerimpressies, het recept komt wat later.
Een paar sfeerimpressies, het recept komt wat later.
Ice-cold thick limoncello is not something you crave for in mid-winter. It is however the perfect time to make it yourself! In winter good quality lemons are available everywhere. Just a few weeks ago, I finished the production of some five bottles and put on the radio. To my surprise a guy was explaining how to make Limoncello yourself. This made me decide to publish my recipe, also because I did not agree with the procedure that was followed on the radio.
The photo below shows two of the lemons on the "4 seasons" lemon tree we brought from Calabria to Leiden. Strangely, it seems to like its new habitat, it is flowering all the time (even now!) and produces tens of small lemons. To protect it a bit against the cold I wrapped it in a blanket.
Ingredients (4 - 5 liter)
You should go for the best lemons you can find, preferably unwaxed and organic. If you lightly scrape the skin with your finger nail they should provide a fresh lemony perfume. If not, do not use them. I know, here in the Netherland it is quite hard to get hold of 95% alcohol. But, in Italy, in every supermarket you can buy it, and it is relatively cheap! So when you are in Italy on vacation, buy a liter and take it back home. Do be carefull with the stuff because it is highly flammable and toxic.
STEP 1 - preparation
Wash the lemons well and if necssary rub of the wax layer. Let them dry.
Peel of the yellow skin in very thin slices - take care not to include white parts, they are bitter.
STEP 2 - Maceration
Now we are ready to extract the oil from the lemon peel.
Put the lemon peels in a large glass container and add the alcohol. Make sure the lemon peels are covered by alcohol. Close the container and seal it so it becomes air-tight.
Put the container in a dark place at room temperature and wait... The waiting is important because you want to extract all the lemon oil from the peels. You wait for 2-3 months, longer does not hurt. The last time I prepared Limoncello I waited for 2 years, because I forgot all about it. Still, the end result was delicious.
STEP 3 - Filtering and adding the sugar sirup
Take out the lemon peels and throw them away. Probably they have become
a bit brittle and less flexible by now because of the extraction of the
Take a large stainless steel pan and add the water. Bring it to the boiling point, then turn off the heat and dissolve the sugar in the water.
Let the sugar sirup cool to room temperature.
Add the sugar sirup to the glass container with the (now yellow colored) alcohol and mix carefully.
Close the container and put it back to the dark place. Wait... for a minimum of one month. Do not be tempted to start drinking the Limencello right now, the different aroma's and perfumes have not yet developed optimally. Wait another month.
STEP 3 - Bottle
If you want you can now filter the Limoncello to get rid of some
sediment that will have been deposited. I never do that, I don't mind it.
Use clean glass bottles to pour in the Limoncello, put in a cork and store them. Wait another day and then...
STEP 4 - Enjoy
Poor the Limoncello in small glasses, put them in the freezer for an hour or so and serve, after dinner or whenever you feel like it!
Last Christmas we were in New York and came across the Magnolia Bakery at 401 Bleeckerstreet. This is the famous bakery where Carrie and Miranda of the TV series Sex and the City buy their favorite cupcakes. Magnolia uses beautiful pastel colors for the icing on the cupcakes. Not only do they look very pretty, they taste like heaven! So I was inspired to make our own Pomino version. I thought of using the fine taste and smell of Piemontese hazelnuts (tonda gentile) to create an Italian version.
Ingredients (approx. 24 cupcakes)
24 cupcake forms
1 clean plastic bag or piping bag
STEP 1 - prepare the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Now prepare the batter for the cupcakes. Combine the flour and the baking powder and mix well. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter until you get a smooth paste. Add the sugar gradually and keep on beating the mixture. Now add the eggs one at a time and mix. Add the flour/baking powder mixture and the milk gradually until all ingredients are incorporated. Scrape out the vailla pods and mix the seeds with the batter. Do not overmix.
Fill the cupcake forms for three quarter and bake for 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes until they are at room temperature.
STEP 2 - prepare the buttercream
Put the soft butter in a mixing bowl and add the hazelnut cream, 800 g of sugar, the milk and the seeds from the vanilla pod. Beat with an electric mixer until you obtain a smooth mixture, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar and keep on beating until the mixture is thick. To provide a bit of color, add the cocoa powder.
STEP 3 - icing the cupcakes
Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and decorate the cupcakes.
You can keep the cupcakes for three days at room temperature but they are best eaten freshly baked.
Now the days are getting shorter and Christmas time is coming my thoughts go to recipes of nutritious food in which lots of flavours are packed, conserved in such a way that the taste only improves with time. Many of you may know the famous British Christmas pudding that is traditionally prepared months before the Christmas celebration.
Perhaps fewer of you may know that in Italy, in Siena to be precise, they have their own heavenly Christmas cake with honey, spices, nuts and candied fruit: Panforte.
Here, I will present you with my recipe which will go perfectly with either cafè or with a good passito.
Ingredients (for about 8 persons)
Mix with a wooden spoon the nuts and candied orange peel with half of the cinnamon, the coriander, the white pepper and the mace. Add 75 g of the flour.
Pour the honey in a pan, slowly heat it on the stove and dissolve the sugar in the honey. Poor the honey mixture in the bowl containing the nuts and spices. Mix well with the wooden spoon. The mixture should have the consistency of a very sticky paste. It should not be like a thick liquid, in that case you should add some flour.
Now cover the sides and the bottom of the springform with bakingsheet and fill the springform with the mixture. Wet your hands a little bit and push the mixture down in the springform to get rid of large pockets of air. Flatten the surface a bit and coat it with a thin layer of a mix of the remaining flour and cinnamon.
Cook the Panforte for about 35 minutes in an oven preheated at about 180 Celsius. When you take it out of the oven it will still be relatively soft. Open the springform after about 15 minutes and fully cool down the Panforte on a tray for some 8 hours.
If you want to keep the Panforte till Christmas you need to wrap it first in fat-free paper and then in aluminum foil. You can keep it for at least two months.
Before serving the Panforte you dust it with powder sugar. For cutting it you use the largest knife you have and use that as a lever.