I went to the grocery store over the weekend, and while I was there my husband texted and asked me to pick up a can of red hair spray for his Halloween Costume (he dressed up as Ron Weasley). I went to the Halloween section, which just days before had been full of costumes, candy, and Halloween decor. But now, just 3 days before Halloween, the section was reduced to a measly and picked over half-aisle. I wandered down the aisles to see if there were any other Halloween supplies, but only found aisle after aisle of Christmas merchandise. It was red and green as far as the eye could see.
It’s all a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? Christmas seems to come earlier every year. I’m just not ready for it — for all the holiday crowds and obnoxious renditions of Jingle Bells playing on repeat in department stores (does a non-obnoxious version of Jingle Bells exist?).
And yet, here I am posting about Christmas on Halloween. I’m just as bad as the grocery store, apparently.
But, the actual recipe has nothing to do with Christmas. The recipe is for Crema Di Limoncello, which is a creamy lemon liqueur that can be enjoyed year-round. I made a batch of limoncello a couple of weeks ago, with the idea of getting a head start on my Christmas presents this year. You see, I make most of my Christmas gifts by hand and so I figured that if I got started on gifts in October, then I’d be less stressed in December.
This idea was good in theory, until my husband and I consumed all the limoncello (OK, we didn’t consume all of it…I did swap some of it at the last PDX Food Swap). Oops. This stuff is dangerously delicious. I suppose this is one gift I’ll have to wait and make in December, as it simply won’t last long at our house. It is too good!
That being said, maybe I shouldn’t recommend that you make limoncello for Christmas gifts. Maybe you should just make a batch and drink it with friends and loved ones. However, if you’re one of my friends or loved ones, you probably shouldn’t make any as I will most likely be giving you a bottle for Christmas. ;)
Anyway…Happy Halloween (and Happy Reformation Day)! I’m going to celebrate with a big bowl of pumpkin curry, and I might just drink the last few drops of limoncello that I have left. Be warm, safe, and happy tonight.
Crema di Limoncello
Adapted from Vanilla Garlic
(**Note the original recipe makes twice this amount. My recipe starts with a pint of Everclear, as opposed to a full 750ml bottle. In addition, the ratio of milk to alcohol is 2 to 1, and yet this limoncello still packs a punch. I was dubious about the 4 cups of milk to 2 cups of Everclear, but it works, trust me.)
2 cups Everclear (You could substitute another brand of vodka in this recipe, but Everclear has a higher alcohol content than other vodkas. If you use another vodka, reduce the amount of milk used)
4 cups of whole milk
1.5 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or half a a vanilla bean)
Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
Zest the lemons (using a grater, or by peeling strips off with a knife/peeler). Place Everclear and lemon zest into a jar and seal. Store in a cool, dry place for one week (or more. I let mine steep for two weeks). Strain using cheesecloth or strainer to remove zest.
In a small pot or saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add in the sugar and the vanilla, and cook (stirring frequently) until the sugar has dissolved. Remove milk mixture from heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, mix milk and infused Everclear together in a large bowl or pitcher. Funnel into bottles, jars, or other tightly sealed containers. Store in the fridge or freezer. Serve chilled.
Note: Limoncello is usually served as an after dinner cocktail. I like to serve it in small glasses, poured straight out of the freezer. The colder the better!