johnny November 27th, 2008
This will probably be our last week in Tennessee before we head out for warmer climes sometime next week. Jenn’s aunt and uncle have invited us to Thanksgiving dinner, and there’s no way we can refuse, considering the spread they put out. In the spirit of traditional Thanksgivings, we figured we’d share a few more homemade recipes: my grandmother’s chocolate pie recipe and Jenn’s uncle’s recipe for limoncello.
Grandma’s Chocolate Pie
Grab a medium sized pot and toss in everything but the pie crusts (duh!), Cool Whip and butter. Set your stove to medium or medium high heat and begin mixing it together. Once the mixture seems to be warming up a bit, toss the stick of butter in and keep stirring. You’re going to do a lot of stirring. Basically, you want to keep stirring until it achieves the consistency of a thick pudding. I recommend a whisk for this… or even a small hand mixer if you can keep it from splashing all over.
Once the mixture thickens up, remove it from heat and pour into a couple of pie shells. Personally, I like Oreo or graham cracker pie crusts, but it’s pretty hard to ruin this pie by picking the wrong crust. Next, I like to leave the pies sitting out under a paper towel so that the steam doesn’t form condensation and make the crust soggy. About an hour should do it. Once they’ve cooled a bit, toss them in the fridge or freezer to cool further. Before serving, cover them with Cool Whip and grab your own fork and plate so as to be sure of getting a slice.
Uncle Mike’s Limoncello
Limoncello is a fashionable after dinner drink all over Italy. There are many commercial limoncellos sold today, but only the homemade liqueur has the fresh and refreshing edge that makes it such a wonderful drink. The popular way to serve limoncello is from the freezer and syrupy thick, but it is often served at room temperature as well.
The key ingredient to limoncello is, of course, the lemons. The fresher the lemons, the more oil can be extracted from their skins and the more flavorful the liqueur. Traditional recipes call for a few green lemons as well as the yellow, but green lemons are difficult to find in the US. Mottled yellow and green lemons are an excellent choice. Green (or mottled) lemons will add more fragrance to the drink, while yellow lemons will add more flavor.
Peel the lemons, being careful not to remove any of the white pith along with the lemon zest as it gives a bitter taste. A lemon zester works best for this task, however a potato peeler or knife will do in a pinch.
Put the lemon zests into a half gallon container along with the grain alcohol. Store this in a cool, dark place for 3-4 days, taking out to shake several times a day.
Once the lemon zests become pale and crisps, you’ve extracted all of the lemon oil from them. Strain them out of the alcohol and discard the zests.
Grab a pot and mix your sugar and water together. Heat this on the stove over medium-low to medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Do not let the water boil. You are aiming for a clear sugar syrup. Once achieved, let the sugar water cool down to room temperature.
Mix the alcohol with the sugar syrup and you’re all set. You’ll need a couple of liter bottles to store the limoncello. You can drink it at this point, but the flavor will round out a bit if allowed to sit for a week. As for the leftover lemons, need I suggest lemonade?
Happy turkey day everyone!