Make Your Own Tamales, Puerto Rican Egg Nog and Crema Limoncello — We've Got the Recipes

You can never get fired up too early about holiday eats. The greatest stretch of food in the America calendar is creeping up, and the time to start thinking about great end-of-year cooking and eating is now.

We combed our archives for three of our greatest holiday preparations. Two recipes are for boozy beverages and must be prepared weeks in advance. One of the two is a tart staple best served frosty-cold, the other is a legendary holiday libation done in a way you may have never seen before. Last, we tackle the tamale, one of the great winter holiday foods of the southwest.

Whichever you choose to make, your holiday eating will be a little more glorious.

Limoncello Crema from Pomo
You may think you've had limoncello, but that swill from the liquor superstore doesn't count. Don't worry, we've got your new favorite recipe right here; it's light, sweet, and creamy, different from your typical homemade stuff, but still bursting with  that sweet, boozey, lemony punch makes limoncello great Yes, we said "creamy." Matteo Schiavone of the Neapolitan pizzeria Pomo uses milk in his limoncello recipe. This is highly unusual, and this is highly delicious. He also uses lemons from Sorrento, but you don't have to go that far. At Pomo, Schiavone's limoncello is best sipped alongside deserts. Bust out your own post-dinner batch next month.

Puerto Rican Egg Nog from J.K. Grence
Coquito is a drink served during the holiday season in Puerto Rico. It's similar to a traditional egg nog, but it gets a tropical boost from coconut cream. One problem with coquito is tracking down a recipe. Much like Texans and chili, every Puerto Rican who makes coquito thinks theirs is the best, and guards the family recipe. Luckily, we have the perfect recipe for you. This recipe riffs on the classic American libation (yes, eggnog is American—the colonists relied on the stuff). Coconut is what elevates the nog to new heights. This version will keep for up to a month before drinking.

Tamales from Silvana Salcido Esparza
Making tamales can strike fear into the hearts of even the most ambitious amateur home cooks. Unless those home cooks are Mexican or have Mexican connections, in which case they likely inspire joy. If you fear the tamale, cast your fears aide. Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café insists there's no wrong way to make the end-of-the-year favorite. Her experience making tamales in large batches goes back to her childhood in Northern California. Here, she lets us in on her technique. Hell. Yes.

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