Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

It’s Christmas time! My second favourite time of the year to Chinese New Year mostly because of all the special food you get to make and eat. I’m about to churn out a lot of goodies for several parties and here’s just one thing on the menu which is dead easy to make in advance. What a beautiful alcoholic lemony snow globe.

Limoncello:
500 ml vodka
500 ml vanilla vodka
Zest of 6 unwaxed lemons
500 g caster sugar
200 ml water

Decant the vodka into a large container or bottle. Zest the lemons and mix the zest into the vodka.

Use a funnel and get the sugar into the vodka. Leave for a week while turning and mixing it up occasionally. After a week, sieve off the zest and decant your limoncello back into bottles. It’s at this point you can add the water if the mixture is too thick. Finally add a twirl of lemon zest as decoration. This will only get better with age and I’m meant to leave it for another week. But by golly it’s already so damn tasty, I don’t know how to resist!

Creme Caramel. Otherwise Known As: Caramel Flan V2

Creme CaramelSo a while ago as I was doing the New Year’s Detox I wrote about this mega easy caramel flan I made for my family over Christmas back in Hong Kong. It went down a treat, but for my Mother and myself it just wasn’t the soft delicious delight we were hoping for. Which made me try rather a lot of creme caramel recipes of late and I’ve been working on one that is not only soft and delicious, but doesn’t liquify upon turning out. It’s probably not *perfect* but it seems pretty fool-proof so far so I thought I’d share it. I made a massive one of these to finish off my Chinese New Year party (and probably my guests too), and I’ve also tried substituting the milk for not only rice milk, but soya as well, and I’m pleased to report that it works superbly.

Makes enough for 6-8 ramekins.

Caramel Flan V2:
115 g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
625 ml milk (or unsweetened dairy free substitute)
1 vanilla pod or 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
100 g caster sugar
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Oven at 170°C. Get a heavy bottomed non stick pan on to high heat. Into this add the 115 g of caster sugar and the tablespoon of water. Caramelise your sugar and be careful not to burn it, I like to just let it sit for ages taking in the heat while I work on other things. I’ll only start to stir with a metal spoon right at the end browning process.

While the caramel’s on the stove, put your ramekins in a deep enough tray to use as your water bath. But without any water in it for now, put it in the oven so your ramekins take on a good amount of heat. This is so when we spoon the caramel into them it doesn’t seize up.

Take your tray of hot ramekins out of the over when your caramel’s about done, then quickly and carefully spoon about a tablespoon of caramel into all the dishes. Move them about a bit to evenly coat. Set them aside.

In another pot, bring the milk and vanilla to just below boiling point. If you’re using a whole vanilla pod, don’t forget to slice along it length wise. When at heat remove from stove and set aside.

Get a large glass bowl and mix together all your eggs and the remaining sugar. To this use a fine mesh sieve and quickly whisk and incorporate the hot milk. When it’s all mixed together you may get a lot of foam on your custard mix. I like to place a kitchen towel on top to remove this.

Ladle some custard mix into each of the ramekins. Remove any extra bubbles with the kitchen towel as above. Place all the ramekins in the water bath tray and fill it with some boiled hot water so that it’s at least over the half way point of the ramekins. Now into the oven for 20-35 minutes.

The creme caramels should have some wobble in them still, but set. Some may have a solid skin atop of them. If you’re really fussy (I am) and the top membrane is thick enough, carefully remove this then let them cool and get them in the fridge ready to be served. The longer you leave them in the fridge the better I think because the caramel dissolves more. When you’re ready to serve, run a sharp knife all the way around and turn it out on a plate.

And that’s it! This also brings an end to all the dishes I made that snowy sunday evening to usher in the Year of the Snake. So I’ll be on to regular kitchen experiments from now on.CNY Flan

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