I'm about to macerate some fruit to make sweet liqueur (first attempt), and am using the generic instructions from homedistiller.org:
- Place cleaned fruit in a large jar.
- Add alcohol (50%abv) to cover fruit.
- Seal and macerate for 10 days. The fruit soaks up the alcohol and releases some juice.
- First racking. Gently pour off liquid so as not to blemish fruit. Layer fruit in jar with sugar (cover most of fruit).
- Seal jar. The sugar makes the fruit release the alcohol and shrivel slightly. In a couple of days the level of juice in the jar should reach almost to the top of the fruit.
- Second racking. Pour off liquid.
- Layer fruit again with sugar
- Third racking. Pour off liquid. Repeat process until only a very small amount of juice is released.
Each racking is sweeter and sweeter. Blend the different rackings to get the desired strength and sweetness. The leftover makes a great syrup for ice-cream.
What I want to know is whether or not I should be chopping the fruit up into large chunks, or doing it whole? Logic would suggest that chopping gives a greater surface area, but it might not be that simple.
If it changes the answer, I'm doing one lot with Pear and another with Apples.