Sunday, December 27, 2009

Italian Struffoli

Italian Struffoli, sometimes called honey balls, is a Christmas treat I remember my Italian grandmother, Jennie, making at this time of year. It's fried dough balls mixed with honey, sugar and orange zest and piled high into a cone shape.
It's a kind of dessert that gets passed around the table with coffee, as each person can take off as many pieces as they want.
Unfortunately, I never had her recipe for making this.
The very first time I made this , I'm talking years ago,( not this recipe!), I remember the balls came out hard and heavy. This recipe, however, I got from a very sweet Italian woman I worked with back in the 80's and this recipe makes the best Stuffoli!
I do have to admit it's been a while since I made this and after I was all finished with the recipe I remembered I had prepared the balls a different way that I show ( a much easier way!). So I will include this other option in the directions for make it a little easier for you!

Beat your eggs with the vanilla and salt.

Stir in enough flour to make a soft manageable dough, stirring in a little flour at a time.

Lose the whisk and using a large spoon, keep stirring in more flour...

And more flour, til it becomes fairly managable. I say fairly because you don't want to add too too much flour or the dough may become heavy. The dough will still be sticky, especially in the center but just flour the large ball of dough enough to be able to pick it up out of the bowl.
Place onto the floured counter and knead the dough a few minutes til smooth.

Place the ball of dough onto your floured counter and cut in half. Cover the dough and let it rest about 30 minutes in a cool place.
Ok..this is where things change!!
I rolled out the dough and cut the dough, with a pizza cutter, to get long strips which I then cut into very small pieces.
Ok, this is the hard way to do this !!
Here's what I want you to do:
Simply take small pieces of the dough and roll out with your floured hands, on the floured counter, long rope like pieces and just cut these pieces into very tiny pieces.
The dough will almost triple in size when you fry them so make sure your pieces are very tiny...fry a sample piece the see what I mean!
Here's more of the hard way to do this!

And the tiny pieces you'll have when finished! Now, let these tiny pieces rest again about 30 minutes on the counter...I know, another rest! Yes!
Now get your oil hot enough ( sample one piece to be sure the oil is hot enough) and place a small batch into the hot oil and fry til just slightly brown.
Keep an eye on them as they turn brown very quickly! Don't answer the phone..or anything!! Keep watching them!

As you have your batches finished, drain each on paper towels.

See mine look like little styrofoam balls!! ( Your's will looks more like just balls!).

In a medium saucepan, blend honey, sugar and zest and heat til the sugar is just dissolved.

Add the balls and stir to be sure they're all coated with the honey mixture.

Pile them in a cone shape onto your preittiest Christmas plate!
Sprinkle the cone shaped pile of delicious honey balls with the multi colored sprinkles. Enjoy!
Italian Struffoli

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 pint oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
zest of half orange
Colored sprinkles
1. Beat eggs with vanilla and salt.
2. Stir in enough flour to make a soft managable dough. Mix well.
3. Toss onto floured board or countertop and knead 5 minutes til smooth.
4. Cut in half and wrap in waxed paper ( flour the balls so you can get them off the paper!).
5. Set aside and place in a cool place for 30 minutes to rest.
6. Take pieces of dough and on floured countertop, roll into rope like shapes.
Cut each into very tiny pieces.( 1/4" pieces).
7. Spread on lightly floured surface and let them rest again for another 30 minutes.
8. Heat oil in heavy medium size saucepan and place balls into pan in batches.keeping an eye on them as they brown very quickly.
9. Drain each batch on paper towels.
10. Pour sugar, honey and zest into medium pan and heat to dissolve sugar.
11. Place all the balls into the pan and stir to coat all.
12. Pile them onto a pretty plate into a cone shape. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

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