There is still enough time left till the Holidays, and I decided to share with you two delicious and very useful Liqueurs, which you can use in many of your Holiday dishes and drinks.
The Orange Liqueur has the bright citrus flavor of the orange without any pulp or even a drop of orange juice and the vibrant flavor of fresh oranges and if you add 1 vanilla bean and use brandy instead of vodka, you have your own homemade Grand Marnier.
It is no need to describe all the wonderful flavors of the Pear liqueur; their aroma with the addition of apples, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon, speak for them self.
Bartlett pear is the best to use for liqueur It is juicy, sweet and smooth. Other fruits and citrus can be combined with pears to create a different taste.
To make the Orange Liqueur: Select oranges that are free of external blemishes and have bright orange peels. To preview the flavor of the liqueurs smell the oranges as you squeeze them gently to release the essence of the oils.
Rinse all the oranges in cold running water and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Lemon or lime can be added to the oranges to give the liqueur a tart citrus bite.
Peel away the thin outer layer of the oranges using a vegetable peeler. Press lightly as you peel to avoid cutting away any of the orange's white pith. The orange peels should be so thin that you can see light through them.
Slide the sliced peels into a 33.5 oz (950g) glass jar, and pour in the vodka. Seal the jar securely.
Place the sealed jar in a cool dark place (I keep mine under the kitchen table) and allow the peels to soak for 2 (two) weeks. Agitate daily: Shake the sealed jar for three seconds.
Bring 2 cups of water to a slow boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 2 cups of sugar.
Reduce the heat to low, and continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove the syrup from the heat, and allow it to cool uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid from the glass jar, and cover the opening with a piece of cheesecloth that has been folded in four layers.
Pour the contents of the glass jar through the cheese cloth into the cooled sugar syrup.
Pour the orange liqueur back into the empty glass jar, and seal the lid tightly.
Place the jar to the refrigerator for another two days of daily agitation. It's ready to be sipped or added to a homemade cocktail.
To make The Pear liqueur: Avoid ones with cuts, bruises, dark spots, or decay.
Slice pears (and apple if desired) and add to other ingredients, adding
sugar syrup last. Stir gently and keep in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.
Repeat the same process which is used for the Orange Liqueur, except you add the simple syrup together with all other ingredients.
Strain and filter. Ready to use.
Note: You can use all the leftover oranges and lemons or limes for making a peel-less Orange Marmalade by first squeezing out the juice of 4 of them, cooking it with some sugar; then, when the syrup is thickened, adding segments of the remaining 4 oranges and 2 lemons and cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes longer.
I also used before all of the delicious boozy pears and apples from the Pear Liqueur in a Clafouti (just drained them well) and add about 1 cup of any fresh fruit. This time of year, cranberry would be very nice.