Friday, December 15, 2023

How to Make Authentic Italian Christmas Struffoli

Golden brown, orange-flavored Italian sweet balls coated in honey and covered in colorful sprinkles
This classic Stuffoli is the perfect Italian Christmas time dessert

Indulge in sweet Italian tradition this holiday season with the classic, and unique-looking struffoli recipe.

These golden brown, orange-flavored Italian sweet treats are a must for Christmas time. Covered in honey and festive sprinkles these tiny balls are impossible to resist

Italy is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, where each region boasts its own unique and delicious dishes that have stood the test of time. Among the countless treasures in the Italian culinary repertoire, one dessert stands out for its sweet simplicity and festive charm – Struffoli. These golden nuggets of dough (also called Italian honey balls) deep-fried to perfection and bathed in honey, are originally from the Southern Italy city of Naple, and have been gracing Italian tables for generations, especially on Christmas Eve.

Whether you're an experienced home chef or a curious food enthusiast, this traditional Italian dessert recipe is sure to captivate your taste buds and add a touch of sweet magic to your culinary repertoire.

So, tie on your apron, dust off your rolling pin, and embark on a culinary adventure combining history, tradition, and the irresistible allure of Italian sweets. Get ready to savor the essence of Italy through the time-honored art of making Struffoli. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when making this struffoli recipe:

If you don't love or don't have anice liquor, you can substitute with limoncello, rum, or your favorite liquor.
You can easily make the dough in a standup mixer like I did. It's super easy and quick.
Or you can mix by hand in a large mixing bowl. It will take a little bit longer but the result will be just as good.

Once ready, make sure to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make this dessert look picture-perfect: Making equal pieces of the tiny little fried dough balls is the key to making this dessert stands out!
To cut the dough into equal small pieces, start by rolling out the dough, cut into strips, roll each strip to make a long rope, and cut into small similar-sized pieces, about the size of a hazelnut. Roll each piece in the palm of your hand.

To fry:  
In a large saucepan, pour enough oil to one-inch height. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fying thermometer in the oil reaches 375F. Helping yourself with a slotted spoon, place the struffoli into the hot oil, just a few at a time. Fry the little balls in batches for about 2 to 3 minutes until lightly golden.
Remember: remove as much flour from the struffoli as you can, so the oil won't bubble up as much!

To make the honey mixture for coating:
In a large saucepan, add the honey, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer and cook while stirring until the sugar is dissolved,  about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the struffoli and mix to coat.
Remove from the heat and let cook for a couple of minutes.

To assemble: 

Find a round serving plate and a small glass container. Spray the outside of a small glass and place it in the center of your serving platter. Using a spoon arrange the struffoli around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle with the remaining honey and top with sprinkles. When set, remove the glass from the center and serve.

How to store:
Struffoli can be stored in an airtight container, or under a glass dome for 4 or 5 days at room temperature.
Freezing is not recommended. 

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