If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello

Limoncello recipe“If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello”

That is what the Mastroianni brothers (pictured below) did in 2008 when they opened their Salem, New Hampshire-based “Fabrizia Spirits”, which has become one of the finest Limoncello distillers in the country.

Nick and Phil Mastroianni are second-generation Italian-Americans who grew up outside of Boston. Well acquainted with the inferior quality of Limoncello that was served in Boston’s North End, they became inspired to make their own after a “life-changing visit to the family’s home village in southern Italy.”

According to the brothers, Limoncello should have a “fresh lemon floral note” and a slight subtle burn.  You should taste the alcohol but it shouldn’t be “rocket-fuel.”  The inconsistent quality that they have experienced in other limoncellos is the result of the use of artificial flavors and colors that “corrupt the ‘sacred-mix’ of the traditional recipe.”

Below you’ll find recipes for limoncello, lemon pie and lemon blueberry bread. We hope you enjoy!

*Please note: The above information was taken from Bill Burke’s article “Celebrate NH”, May 2015

Mastroianni Bros bakery

Mastroianni Brothers Fabrizia Spirits

Limoncello (taken from Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros)

8 Lemons
4 cups pure alcohol (most are between 96-98%)
2 lb. 4oz Sugar
4 cups water

*Note: You will need a large, wide-mouthed glass carafe of 12 cups or so.

Limoncello and Linen water book

Wash the lemons very well and scrub the skins.  Pare them with a potato peeler or paring knife into good strips, taking care to only get the yellow part, not the white pith.  Put them in the carafe, cover with the alcohol and leave to macerate for 1 week, covered.  Give the carafe a shake every so often to make sure all the peel is covered.

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to the boil and simmer for just under 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Using muslin or a fine strainer, filter the alcohol into a jug.  Slowly pour the alcohol over the hot syrup in the pan, taking care as it will spit out at you.  Cool completely.  Pour back into the carafe, cover again and leave for 10-15 days.  It will now be ready to drink. Serve well chilled – you can store in the freezer. Very refreshing on hot summer days.

Lemon Pie (taken from Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros)

Ingredients for the crust:
1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Mix all of the above ingredients in bowl and then lightly pat into a pie dish. Put aside.

Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup of whipping cream
1 can condensed milk
Juice of two large lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)

Lemon pie recipe

Whip the cream until fairly stiff. Add the condensed milk and whip to incorporate. Add the lemon juice combining thoroughly. Pour into pie crust and cover with plastic and refrigerate until set, usually several hours. This pie is very simple and quick to make and is very light and a very refreshing dessert for a hot summer day.

*Note: This recipe called for a crust made with 4 & 1/2 ounces of rectangular Marie Digestive Biscuits combined with a stick of butter. We didn’t have any and so used a graham cracker crust.  Also, the next time we make this we might try adding a little bit of crushed pineapple or crushed strawberries.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Bread

6 tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar and then beat in eggs.  Add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture slowly alternating dry ingredients with the milk combining thoroughly. Add lemon juice and blueberries. Turn batter into loaf/bread pan and bake 40-50 minutes in 350 degree oven. (Be sure to grease the pan before you put batter in).

Ingredients for the glaze:
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp. or more fresh lemon or orange juice

Mix together and drizzle over bread when right out of oven. Run a fork around edges of bread and pan to allow the glaze to ooze down the sides of the bread. Let cool for 30 minutes or so before removing from the pan.

Lemon blueberry bread recipe

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