Crema de Limoncello (aka Best Hooch Ever)

Monday, May 7, 2007

This is stuff that Dennis over at the Hidden Kitchen made for me. I raved about it in my Hidden Kitchen review for Edible Sacramento, and he was kind enough to make me a bottle. Elise and I both lushed over this wonderfully ephemeral, if not highly intoxicating drink. Since it's made with Everclear it's quite strong, but the taste! Like ambrosia or golden apples, or something else out of myth and legend. If you have the time, make some; it's perfect for warm summer nights and celebrations. (Photos by Elise of Simply Recipes. Recipe by Dennis.)

As far as the limoncello goes , it's the classic Almalfi Coast digestivo, and of course, you'll want to California-ize it. It's a great time to make this, as Meyer lemons are in abundant supply. If you can keep it around until those hot summer days, there is nothing better after grilling then to sit on the patio and sip a little Crema de Limoncello.

10 Meyer lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle Everclear
8 1/2 cups of milk
5 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of vanilla sugar (put a vanilla bean, split, in a jar of sugar and let sit for 2 weeks)

Zest the lemons using a Micro-plane grater or another similar tool that also produce a very fine zest. Place in a jar with the Everclear and leave at room temperature for 1 week. Strain using the cheesecloth.

In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar and the vanilla suagar and cook, stirring frequently, until dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl or pitcher, combine the Everclear mixture with the limoncello, funnel into bottles (which can be found at Cost Plus, or other like places) and store in the freezer for up to six months. Serve neat in a chilled tumbler or martini glass.


  1. Yummy, I can't wait to try this recepe out.

  2. Yay, I have several recipes for limoncello but none with creme...This sounds FABULOUS!! I wasn't able to access your article on the Hidden Kichen through Edible Sac. Wats up?

  3. Josette - Not all the articles are available on the Edible Sacramento website. You can pick up a copy for free at places like Whole Foods and a few other specialty food purveyors, or you can donate on the website for a subscription that will be sent directly to you.

  4. Yes, limoncello and crema di limoncello are divine.

    Hard to make here as alcohol of such purity is very hard to get (it is actually banned here).

    Still, great stuff and if you live in an area where you can make it do so, you won't regret it.

  5. Everclear is not banned in California. It is a myth. Buy it at your nearest Bev Mo....

  6. OK, I just checked where Rob was from - Ireland?! In that case I'd use Potcheen...Actually, I prefer limoncello made with pure grape brandy; it's bascially EverClear but made from grapes, not corn.

    My $.02

  7. Thanks for the info Hank. I don't think I would have had the answer for Ireland. I know some people use vodka, and that works too.

  8. OMG I want a glass or three!

    Question - What exactly is Everclear? Never heard of it. Is it like Grappa?

    Does anyone have a recipe for homemade limocello?

  9. Sounds all too drinkable, especially for the summer!

  10. Everclear is 150 proof grain alcohol (higher in some states, CA limits it to 150). One note about the recipe, for some reason at the end it says 1 bottle of Limoncello. That is not correct. The mixture is just Zested Everclear, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla Sugar. You can substitute Vodka but it won't be the same. - Dennis

  11. If you knew my weekend, you would know that alcohol is the last thing I want to look at now. But if I could, this would be delicious. :)

  12. Twist my arm. To make Limoncello, follow the recipe above but substitue water for milk and no vanilla sugar. Tastes other-worldly if you can put it down for a year (fat chance). As with both Limoncello and Crema de Limoncello, store them in the freezer and bring out about 15 minutes before serving.

  13. Sounds yummy, but I think I missed something. When does the milk get combined with the Everclear? In the saucepan or in the bottle with the limoncello?

  14. Thanks Hank for the suggestion.

    Poiteen is actually banned here as well(fun country eh?) and the stuff that is marketed as Poiteen is not particularly potent.

    I will be returning to Italy in September so will bring back some 95% alcohol from there.

  15. When making either Crema or regular lemoncello, zest the lemons and macerate for a week in everclear. Strain. In a separate pot, heat up the milk or water, add sugar and stir until completely dissolved. It doesn't have to boil, just hot enough to melt the sugar. Let cool down. Add the strained off everclear. bottle and you're golden. - Dennis

  16. Rob - Good Lord! Potcheen banned, too?! No wonder there are more Irish in the US than over there. Sorry, man.
    As for limoncello, I used 100 proof vodka and no water. I often find water combined with EverClear (or other mega-alcohol) clouds it. I like my drinks crystalline. This is also why I dump the sugar into the Mason jar with the lemon zest and vodka. Kept in a cool, dark place for several months, the sugar will slowly dissolve into the mix.
    Then, when you are ready, run the lot through cheesecloth and bottle. Hide it in the back of the fridge and take it out once the weather turns 100.
    Oh, and you MUST try this with blood orange zest, too. It gets freaky and dark. And cool.

  17. I've been curious about this ever since you and Elise regaled us with the story.

    Notes have been taken. :)


  18. I got this e-mail from Robert W. about Crema de Limoncello Cheesecake. I figured it would be worth sharing.

    Hi Garrett,

    Peggy, a US based member on Italian Fever posted this recipe today and I thought you might find it of interest. A different way to use limoncello.


    Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
    I made this yesterday and had some for breakfast this morning, now I want to share the recipe with all of you. It is so good.

    You will need:

    Nonstick cooking spray
    8 ozs biscotti
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
    1 - 12oz container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained at room temperature
    2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese at room temp.
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/2 cup limoncello liqueur - homemade or store bought
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs at room temperature


    Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with the nonstick cooking spray. Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely.

    Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla and remaining 2 tbls of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

    Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water int he roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheese cake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. It will become firm when it is cold.

    Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake in squares and serve.

  19. I learned a recipe similar to 'crema di limoncello' that uses UHT (shelf stable) milk and is called Latte della Gallina. No idea where that name came from. The recipe comes from Naples.

  20. Just wanted to let you know for the second year I will be making this for Christmas gifts. It's so silky & luscious. This year I'm saving more for me! Thanks.

  21. I did it! And it was AMAZING! I really wanted this attempt to be authentic Italian so I did a bunch of research. Here are some things that I ran into; I was scared about the amount of sugar called for but an Italian gentlemen said in his blog, just do it, you wont regret it. So I did and I'm glad. Also, my Meyer Lemon crop was iffy this year, so I used regular lemons and 1 orange. Lastly I found varying opinions on what milk fat content to go with. I settled on organic Whole milk. It turned out great, with varying layers of subtle flavors. I cant wait for my friends to try it.

  22. What have you found to be the best milk fat percentage to go with?

  23. Hmmmm...what's wrong with the taste if you use 1%? I haven't blended the 2 so if it makes a big difference than I'll scrap this milk/sugar batch and start again.

  24. Laura: The alcohol flavor will be more prominent.

  25. I have a recipe for crema di limoncello from my sister's mother in law in Italy-it calls for panna liquida which I thought might be heavy cream-have you heard of crema being made with cream rather than milk.

    1. Not off the top of my head, but I suppose you could switch milk out for cream here.

  26. in general i prefer to only give positive reviews but i have to be honest....this recipe just didn't work out for me. it tasted like super sweet milk...and it froze, which tells me that the milk to booze ratio must be wrong...... unfortunately i made them for christmas gifts ....major disappointment :(

  27. I used pure Graves alcohol which is 190 proof with a 2 to 1 ratio of booze to milk or water if just making limoncello. Its lethal ethereal heaven in the mouth! I doubled my batch and got close to a gallon! Im going to try oranges Valencia next! Happy Holiday's


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger