In case you are wondering what struffoli are, they are deep fried morsels of dough that expand as they cook. Then they are bathed in warm honey and adorned with sprinkles and some orange zest. Delicious!
Making struffoli with Nonna this morning was a testament to why we wanted to do this blog.
There was no written recipe or instructions, measuring utensils included an empty half eggshell and the empty ricotta container from the cake! And “you just know” when to add more or less flour!! Funny thing is, it always comes out perfect when Nonna makes it and the reason I hear from my kids when I try something “that’s not the way nonna makes it. Her’s tastes better!”
You can imagine Nonna’s expression when we had to take it from the beginning and measure everything properly!
Many think of struffoli as a treat only around Christmas time but they are fun and delicious any time. Bet you can’t eat just one. They are irrestible!
Nonno Pat would always help Nonna roll these out and bathe them in the honey. He loved these sweet treats and would often tell us how they reminded him of his childhood back in Avellino, Italy.
A batch of these makes a bunch and takes no time at all! The orange zest really picks up the flavor and kids love the sprinkles!
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 packet vanilla powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (slightly beaten)
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- Corn oil for deep frying (about 2 cups)
- Honey (about 1 cup)
- Strips of orange zest
- Mix the flour, vanilla powder, salt and sugar together and form into a well on a work surface.
- To the center of the well, add the eggs, brandy, grated orange zest and oil. Blend the wet ingredients well with fingers.
- Begin working the dry ingredients into the wet and continue until a dough forms.
- Lightly knead the dough (about 5 minutes) until it is uniform.
- Let the dough rest for covered in plastic wrap for about an hour.
- Working with a small piece of dough at a time (golf ball size), roll it out into 1/2" diameter logs. With a pastry blade, cut the logs into 1/2" pieces.
- Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan until it reaches 350 degrees F.
- Gently lower the cut pieces of dough into the oil. Keep moving them around in the oil so they cook on all sides.
- Allow them to turn golden brown all over then remove them from the oil with a slotted spatula and let them drain on a paper-towel lined pan.
- Continue rolling, cutting, and frying the remainder of the dough (keep the unrolled dough covered in plastic wrap).
- When all the dough has been rolled, cut and fried, clean the oil out of the pan and pour the honey in. Let the honey get heated through to a thinner consistency (do not let it burn). Place all the struffoli into the honey and stir until they are completely coated. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- Arrange the honey coated struffoli on a serving dish. Decorate with coloured sprinkles and thin strips of orange zest.
- Test the oil with a piece of dough. It should bubble or sizzle as soon as the dough hits the oil.
- The pieces expand to approximately double in size as they cook.