Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Sunday
Jan202013

Liquore di Anice Arancia (Blood Orange and Star Anise Liqueur)

It’s that time of year when we’re on our New Year Diet Plan, so not a whole lot of food or new dishes to blog about. Who wants to hear about salads, salads and more salads? Salad is what FOOD eats. Lots of stir fries (one with Dan Dan flavors may be worth blogging about later), chicken and seafood dishes. Meh. We have pretty much gone dry in the process too, which has been easier than I thought. With all this healthy crap, I’ve been twitchy on the weekends. Saturdays are usually when I go nuts on the more time-consuming meals, fresh pastas, more interesting sauces,…you know. Fun-cooking!

A couple of weeks ago I was digging through the refrigerator, trying to find something interesting and healthy (oxymoron) to do with broccoli, and stumbled across the last few drops of Liquore di Anice Arancia, an orange and star anise liqueur we brought home from Italy earlier this year.  It was the most amazing thing either of us had ever tasted, but we didn’t bring home much in the way of souvenirs and the bottle we did bring home was quickly shared with friends and gone. I saved the bottle in the freezer, just so I wouldn’t forget about it and in case I could coerce one of my traveling friends to bring back a bottle if ever I ran into anyone going to the Amalfi coast.

Our friend Judy, whose blog Over A Tuscan Stove provides constant inspiration, was helping me with a purchase I was trying to negotiate from here and I mentioned the liquor. When I showed her the label, she clarified that what I loved so much was the faint star anise note in the background of the drink, and that it would be child’s play to make at home. She also advised me to get the purest alcohol I could procure, so I ordered a big jug of Everclear online.

What the hell, right? Another new (to me) website I’m really enjoying is La Tavola Marche, from which the Rosemary and Lavender Cake I mentioned in my last post originated. They have a recipe for a Blood Orange Arancello, so I figured it would be pretty simple to add the star anise, triple the recipe and make it my own…..hoping it would taste like what remember.

We finished the liquor last night, and you know what? It tastes EXACTLY like what we remember! This is most definitely a recipe I'll repeat until they wheel my poor, pickled corpse away. Fortunately, in the meantime we have enough orangy, boozy goodness to last at least a week when we’re off these damned diets.

A few notes about the recipe: You will need to skin the oranges carefully, with a very sharp knife. You don’t want to get the bitter pith in with the peel. It took me about 45 minutes to fully peel 20 blood oranges and remove any last bits of pith. Consider it a labor of love. When storing this mixture, both throughout the process and when you have assembled the simple syrup with the infused alcohol, store it in a cool, dry place. The amount of simple syrup used here makes for a liqueur which goes down pretty smoothly. If you want it a little bit boozier, reduce the syrup mixture at the end.

Liquore di Anice Arancia (Blood Orange and Star Anise Liqueur)

Adapted and shared with permission from the kind folks at La Tavola Marche

The two week boozy peel soak

Ingredients

1.75 liters Everclear, or as close as you can find to pure grain alcohol. In a pinch, use vodka. 1.75 liters is the huge handled jug. (For professional drinkers)

The skin of 20 blood oranges. 

10-12 (about ¼ cup) star anise

1.75 kilo (3.85 lbs) granulated sugar

3 liters (~12 ½ cups) water

Preparation:

In a large jar with a lid, soak the orange-rind peels and star anise in the alcohol and leave in a cool dark place for about 14 days.

After it has sat for 14 days or so, filter the rinds from the alcohol. Boil the water & sugar, making a simple syrup, stirring to dissolve all the sugar in the water. Then add the orange flavored alcohol. Bottle.

Arancello, like limoncello will last a year or more in proper storage.

If the alcohol is too strong, it is also nice to serve it with a drop of heavy cream or dollop of whipped cream atop - then it is referred to as Crema di Arancello.

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Whenever I make cellos I use a micro plane grater and it works great. So, so much easier than a knife.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Great advice, Jennifer. Thank you!

January 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterMarc

With this recipe you've made me very, very happy Marc! I will be raising a glass to your "poor, pickled corpse". XO

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuth in SF

Hey Marc. We would love to make this, but have no sharp knives and are remodeling the kitchen. So we have no knives that i can find!

Would be so kind to peel 20 oranges for us?

Can't wait for you and David to come over to see Mary's (our) new creation! Perhaps we can coax you into cooking for us, too!

Love your blog!

I too am short of sharp knives...perhaps a trip to Los Angeles is in order for you...seriously, I am going to try this with cara cara oranges as soon as I get home...I have some everclear that wants using!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Miro

I'm so glad Becky told me about your amazing blog, I love reading it and this recipe couldn't have come at a better time. I am getting married in April and we were originally going to do Limoncello as our favors but one of our colors is orange so I've been looking for Arancello recipes. This sounds so good and will be such a special touch to our day. I have Emil bringing some kind of potent grain alcohol from North Dakota so we will be all set to create this orange deliciousness! Thank you!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa Sciarretta

So glad you guys are liking it. We have consumed or given away all of what we made, so getting ready to give it another go here too!

February 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterMarc

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