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Oct 11, 2012 10:08 AM

Prune liqueur recipe?

Once upon a time, I had an incredible prune-infused grappa somewhere in the mountains above Trento, Italy. The weather is getting chilly, so I was thinking of re-creating that experience and perhaps serving it at Thanksgiving. Anyone have a successful recipe they'd like to share?

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  1. I'll gladly accept correction, but I'm guessing it was plums, not prunes (prugna is the Italian word for plum)

    Unfortunately, it's too late to make it for Thanksgiving this year (it takes 2-3 months to ferment and age)-- but if you google "plum liqueur" there's no end of recipes -- usually it's made with vodka, white rum, or grain alcohol, but you could likely sub grappa if the alcohol content is high enough.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      The guy said it was from prugna secca (prunes), and from my reading around it seems that dried fruit makes for great liqueur. My question really revolves around the amount of sugar that needs to be added to the vodka, given that prunes are already pretty sweet. Was hoping someone had tried (successfully) to make a great liqueur :-)

      Also, I meant to say Christmas! Was tired this morning... regarding timeframes, I've never seen anyone recommend months to steep a liqueur, most I have seen was 6 weeks (for vodka infusions)...

      1. re: fame da lupo

        my apricot liqueur (which is fought over at my table) take 3 months, and I've a batch of raspberry working in the cellar right now that takes 6, and my limoncello (from an Italian grandmother) takes 4.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I was referring to dried fruit infusions, I assume you're using fresh fruit? Do you add sugar (how much by weight ratio to the liquor?)? Thanks for any help!

          1. re: fame da lupo

            yes, I add sugar, but typically just before bottling (and therefore before the second fermentation)

            I haven't made a dried infusion so far.

    2. Inasmuch as Plum infused Vodka recipes typically rely on plums that have been baked for a short time to dry them, I see no reason why you couldn't simply use prunes (which after all are just dried plums) and follow a recipe you like for the Plum infused Vodka.
      I would simply get a large (at least a quart but preferably a gallon) jar and sterilize it, then stuff it full of pitted prunes and fill the jar with enough Vodka to cover the prunes completely and press everything into a compact mass so that no air remains. Then I'd seal the jar and set it in the refrigerator (or at least a cool dry location) for 3 or 4 weeks.
      No sugar should be necessary as the sugars are already concentrated in the dried fruit.

      3 Replies
      1. re: todao

        Roger, that makes sense (re: the sugar).

        1. re: fame da lupo

          In my grad school days of many years ago, when we were trying to be chic on budget, we made apricot liquer by soaking dried apricots in gin, vodka, or sometimes brandy. The process requires 3 months, but some batches were deemed ready to drink far sooner, and the soaked fruit was great over ice cream. I think we liked the gin based, the best.... prunes should be excellent used this way but I thnk the brandy or grappa might be a better base.

          1. re: chasamark

            Damn, totally busted. Grad-student trying to give interesting Xmas presents on a budget.

      2. Changes from todao's method: I don't think you need as many prunes as suggested -- I would probably fill only half the volume of your container or less with fruit, which means you will get more liqueur out of it, and it's therefore less expensive. No added sugar will be more like grappa; for a liqueur I would add simple syrup.

        My suggested method: steep prunes in vodka or brandy with no sugar, for 1 week less than whatever amount of time you have. Then strain out your fruit, make a simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar, simmered 10 minutes) and add it to the infusion, tasting as you go for sweetness. Adding one or two of vanilla bean(s), some orange peel, or some sliced ginger to your boiling syrup would be fabulous. Strain and bottle when you run out of time. Advise your friends to sip it in small glasses (shot glasses, cordials, or juice glasses) over ice.