In December of 2011 I posted my “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” recipe and to date it is still one of my most popular posts. It even got a mention in an article on Smithsonian.com written by K. Annabelle Smith, “What the Heck Do I Do with a Buddha’s Hand?” from which I still get a few hits every week. Thanks K. Annabelle.
This most mysterious of the citrons are once again showing up in the markets…only in December in Nashville does the Buddha’s Hand, or “finger citron” for obvious reasons, appear for a few short weeks.
I am not sure why I am so seduced but each winter I purchase a few. They spend some time in our fruit bowl ripening and scenting the entire house with a light citrus aroma. Very subtle but pleasing. Anyone who drops by is equally smitten. Friends pick them up and play with them…you know who you are e.e….smell them, turn and twist them and finally ask what in heck they are. All in all they are lots of fun to have around before I actually do something with them in the kitchen.
“Buddhacello” liqueur is this year’s recipe. As well as Candied Buddha’s Hand that is yummy decorating the top of a cake, and a very aromatic simple syrup for drizzling on pound cakes or adding to some Holiday cocktails….. all of which from these two Buddha’s Hand Citrons.
A vegetable peeler and a bottle of good vodka…..
….a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for holding the liquid and for safe shaking…
…and patience is a good thing as well. The wait will be worth it.
Two words….”dark place”. Yes, put this jar of glowing yellow into a dark, cool place…a closet or cabinet…for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake every so often. If you start now you can have your own Buddhacello ready for gift giving or sipping on cold winter nights.
Meanwhile….tick, tock…tick, tock..the days pass…lots of things to do….cold and dark nights….inside the dark place chemistry is happening….
After 4 weeks, I strain out the peel, add some of the simple syrup left over from making the candied peel to the vodka mixture and leave in the “dark place” one more week….decant into individual bottles. Store a bottle in the freezer and serve icy cold straight or with a splash of soda water over ice or added to a hot toddy to make a cold night warmer.
Good Luck Buddhacello
- 2 Buddha’s Hand Citron (or use grapefruit, orange, or lemon peel)
- 6 cups good Vodka
- 1 cup simple syrup – 1 cup sugar melted in 1 cup water or use the syrup from the candied peel if you make this
Directions for Buddhacello:
- Using a sharp vegetable peeler remove peel & pith to make at least 3 cups of strips.
- Place strips of Buddha’s Hand into a large glass jar.
- Pour in vodka, tighten lid and shake well.
- Place jar in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking a few times a week.
- After the 4 to 6 weeks, strain out the peel from the vodka and stir in 1 cup of Buddha’s Hand simple syrup saved from making candied peel, or any plain store-bought or homemade simple syrup.
- For making a simple syrup at home put 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water in a sauce pan over med high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Tighten the lid on the jar, shake well and return to the cool dark closet or cabinet for another week. Strain & decant Buddhacello Liqueur into individual bottles or jars. Store or give as gifts.
- Serve icy cold straight, or over ice with a splash of soda water. Also makes a great drizzle over pound cake or ice cream.
Directions for Candied Peel:
- Chop 2 cups of Buddha’s Hand Citron into small chunks. Place in a pan of water and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the chunks are somewhat transparent. Remove from heat and drain.
- Place chunks in a larger pan with just enough water to cover and 2 cups white sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring often. Turn to simmer. Cook until a candy thermometer reads about 200 to 225 degrees. Remove pan from heat. Let sit for about 1 hour to cool down.
- Pour candied chunks of Buddha’s Hand into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the syrup. Let drain for about 30 minutes. Reserve syrup, storing in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use for other recipes.
- Toss candied chunks in a bowl with 1 cup of sugar until pieces are well coated. Scrape out onto a cooling rack set over a parchment paper covered pan. Leave overnight to harden. Shake to remove excess sugar & store in an airtight tin or jar. Great for topping desserts or adding to cookies.