Green Walnut Grappa
Adapted from a Dió Pálinka (Walnut Brandy) recipe that I tried in a Hungarian cellar at Somló – amongst many others!! Pálinka is traditionally a fruit brandy but as most of my readers won’t have a still (it’s illegal) I have turned it into a grappa or nocino instead.
1 litre of grappa (vodka, pálinka, white spirit 40 – 45 % vol.)
250g to 400 g sugar (depending how sweet you like liqueurs)
10 large green walnuts (or 15 small ones)
Traditional: a couple of roasted coffee beans
Foragers: a couple of roasted dandelion roots or toasted cleavers seed.
Traditional: 5-6 cloves, a stick of cinnamon and half a mace
Foragers: a half handful of common hogweed seeds and alexanders seed (ripe green hogweed seeds can also be toasted)
Pick the walnuts while the skin is still green and a fork will pierce right through them including the young shell inside. Wearing gloves – unless you want brown stained hands – cut each nut into quarters (don’t peel them) then half again. Put the pieces into a preserving jar and pour the alcohol over them, adding beans or spices if you prefer. Seal the jar tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 6 weeks.
Chop the walnuts as before then put all the ingredients, adding half a litre of water, into a saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Pour all into the preserving jar. Seal and leave for at least 2 weeks. Strain and bottle.