If you are looking for a zesty way to end a relaxing summer dinner party then this chilled liqueur from James Martin could be just the shot of flavour and fun needed. Limoncello is characterised by its strong flavours and generous helping of alcohol.
The biscotti, and in this case an apricot and nut biscotti, is the perfect companion to the Limoncello as it absorbs the alcohol without losing the flavour.
Limoncello Ingredients Serves 6-8:
70cl of fruit alcohol or vodka, 40-80% in strength
200g castor sugar
Zest and juice of 8 unwaxed lemons
Ingredients for the Biscotti:
250g plain flour
250g castor sugar
1 ½ tsp of baking powder
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
50g chopped, dried and sweetened strawberries
100g chopped, dried apricots
50g pitted and chopped dates
75g shelled pistachio nuts
50g whole blanched almonds
50g shelled hazelnuts
Zest of 1 lemon
To start with you need to make your Limoncello. Warm a bit of the vodka with all the sugar and wait until the sugar has dissolved – but be careful not to let the vodka boil. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the lemon zest and juice and the rest of the vodka before pouring into a bottle and freezing.
Whilst that is freezing you can concentrate on the biscotti. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Then start on the mixture.
Add flour, sugar and baking powder to a bowl with half of the beaten eggs; mix all of this together before adding the remainder of the beaten eggs gradually. Just be careful when adding the eggs because you don’t want the dough to become too wet, so you may not need all the eggs.
When the dough is nice and sticky add the fruit, nuts and lemon zest, mixing well. When the mixture is ready, divide it up into six sausage-like strips about 3cm in diameter. Place them 6cm apart on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. After removing them from the oven, let them stand for about 10 minutes to let them firm up.
Use a serrated knife to cut the biscotti into strips (as many as you want but this mixture will probably be good for 30) before returning to the oven for 8 minutes. When the 8 minutes are up, turn them and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.
Whilst this is going on, your Limoncello should be freezing nicely. When the biscotti has cooled, take out the Limoncello and pour into shot glasses – just remember to remove the lemon zest.