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Limoncello Recipe

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Limoncello

Makes about 3 1/4 quarts

Those who are lucky enough to receive this homemade lemon liqueur should keep it in the freezer, where it turns a milky white after 8 to 9 hours. It can be sipped straight-up, mixed with tonic or dashed into champagne. Recipe adapted from Magdalena Borea.

17 large lemons, preferably organic

Two 750-milliliter bottles grain alcohol

5 1/2 cups water

6 cups sugar

Wash and dry the lemons. With a paring knife, remove the ends. With a vegetable peeler, remove only the yellow rind, leaving the pith intact. (Squeeze juice from the lemons and reserve for another use.)

Place the lemon peel in a 4-quart Mason jar with a rubber-seal lid. Add the grain alcohol, making sure the lemon peel is completely covered. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar once each day to agitate the lemon peel.

On the 13th day, bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and remove from the heat, stirring until it is dissolved. Cover and let cool to room temperature.

Place a colander on top of the saucepan and strain in the contents of the Mason jar. Discard the lemon peel. Stir to combine the liquids, about 1 minute. Transfer back to the Mason jar. Store for 3 weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking to agitate the liquid twice a day.

After 3 weeks, transfer the limoncello to smaller bottles that can be sealed with rubber stoppers. Store bottles in freezer. Serve directly from the freezer.

Per 1.5-ounce serving: 92 calories, 0 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 1 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Jill Grisco; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

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