Sunday, December 18, 2005


Struffoli, that's what.

Struffoli, always referred to in the plural, are an absolute requirement at the end of a Neapolitan Christmas day dinner. Since both sides of my family are from Naples, we always had this treat at Christmas. Piled high on a plate, everyone would be picking at them all evening. They last for quite a few days after Christmas too, so you can feel a little bit festive later in the week.

I stole this recipe from Mario Batali. Even though he's a very red headed, very NON-Italian looking Italian (must be a Northern Italian), I trust his recipe as much as my own Grandmother's.


Makes: 50 to 60

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 egg yolks
6 eggs
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon limoncello
4 cups canola oil, for frying
2 cups honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Candied orange or lemon peel or sprinkles, for garnish (optional)

In a mixer bowl, combine the flour, egg yolks, egg, zests, salt, and limoncello and mix well to form a firm dough, 8 to 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. When the dough has rested, remove from fridge and cut into golf ball-size pieces. Roll each golf ball into a 1/2-inch-thick dowel and cut each dowel into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece between palms into a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat the oil in a 12- to 14-inch skillet with at least 3-inch sides to 375 degrees F. Drop balls in to cover about half of the surface of the oil and cook until dark golden brown. Use a spider or slotted spoon to turn them regularly; they will puff up while cooking. Remove when cooked to a tray covered with paper towels and drain well. This should make at least five batches, so be patient.

When all of the struffoli are cooked, heat the honey, lemon juice, and zest together in a wide 6- to 8-quart saucepan until quite warm, about 150 degrees F, and substantially thinner. Add the struffoli and stir carefully until well coated. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan, stirring regularly.

Pour out onto a large serving tray in the form of either a pyramid or a ring. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and any other choice of garnish. The struffoli should last a week or as long as your guests allow.


alwswrite said...

You know, these remind me a lot of the suvganiot (basically donuts, just fried dough and powdered sugar) that are traditional fare at Hannukah time. They look delectable.

Becky G said...

I was stationed in Naples when I was in the Navy, and my son was born there. I had to laugh the first time I ate at an Italian restaurant after coming home. The food they served was nothing like what I ate in Naples.