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Limoncello

Crema di limoncello

 Giovanni picking the lemons from Paulo & Irene's garden

Giovanni picking the lemons from Paulo & Irene's garden

 Cows at Hinxden Farm Dairy, Kent

Cows at Hinxden Farm Dairy, Kent

 Collect the peel

Collect the peel

 Macerate in alcohol for 3-6 days

Macerate in alcohol for 3-6 days

 Decant into sterilised bottles

Decant into sterilised bottles

 Pronto!

Pronto!

We all know Limoncello. That sickly neon yellow stuff you buy in an Italian boot shaped bottle at the airport on the way back from Italy because you've got a 20 euro note and you really should buy your flat mate something. And crema di limoncello - just as bad but without even the alcohol?! So when Maria offered me a glass of homemade crema di limoncello from the freezer a few years back I accepted expecting the worst - but what I drank, that warm Italian evening surrounded by olive and lemon groves was one of THE nicest things that's ever passed my lips.

Some of the world's most sought after lemons come from Campania, famously from the Sorrento and Amalfi coasts (here is an article to tell you more if you're interested). An hours drive inland to Foglianise and the lemons are wonderful. Ours come from the garden of our sister in law Valentina's parents, Paulo and Irene.

Now, the lemon in Campania is something quite different from the funny little thing English supermarkets sell. Here in the warm and volcanic south of Italy they are big, ugly brutes! Lumpy and dimpled but my word the fragrance and the oil! The lemon trees are weighed down with these giants from March to July so get your hands on some from a friend or an Italian supplier such as Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham.

To make around 3 litres of the best crema di limoncello you've ever tasted you'll need:

  • 10 or so Campanian lemons, prefably from a family or friends garden, peel only
  • 1 Litre alcohol at least 95% ABV
  • 2 litres of milk - we use organic whole milk from Hinxden Dairy in Cranbrook
  • 1.5kg white fair trade caster sugar
  • Vanillina sachet (Click here to buy)
  1. Carefully peel the lemons, keeping only the peel - no pith. 
  2. Place in a large transparent container, pour over the alcohol and leave for 3-6 days, shaking and stirring every day until the alcohol has taken on all of the gorgeous flavour and colour from the lemons.
  3. Heat the milk with the suger and Vanillina until they've dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes and then take off the heat. 
  4. Cover a pan w Muslin, pour through the milk. Now pour through the alcohol with the lemons falling into the Muslin. 
  5. Tie the muslin and squeeze every last drop into the liquid. 
  6. Heat for another 15 minutes and then allow to cool.
  7. Using a funnel pour into sterilised bottles, put in the freezer, and boom.. your neighbours are going to love you.