Struffoli, the delicate, sticky and deliciously addicting fried dough, is a staple on the Italian dessert table, not only at Christmastime, but at Easter as well. Struffoli, also known as honey dough balls, are said to have originated in Naples, Italy. The Greeks once controlled Naples, and some of the Italian food we have today has influences from this period of time. Struffoli are one of them. Struffoli comes from the Greek word strongulos which means “round in shape”. It is traditionally made using flour, eggs, sugar, butter, lemon and orange zest, honey and nuts.
Once rolled into tiny balls and fried, the struffoli are then stirred into a warm honey mixture, and then mounded on top of a decorative tray where they are then coated in colored sprinkles. Some garnish the struffoli with candied cherries or almonds. There are many ways of rolling these small balls of dough, depending on whose Italian grandmother you talk to. Some pull pieces of dough off and simply roll by hand, while others roll the dough out and cut into small squares and then roll into shape. Still others make long ropes, cut small nuggets and then form into circles. Whatever the method, adults and children alike cannot help but smile when pulling these tasty concoctions from its sticky mound. I bet you can’t eat just one.
Click here for a struffoli recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
This story was originally published in April 2014.