Let me start off by saying I’m sorry for posting two fried recipes in one week. That was cruel! At a time when people are trying to eat healthy…we’re living our lives in fried food heaven. Just kidding, we eat healthy sometimes too. And to be honest I don’t even feel that bad because both of these recipes were so good it would be a shame not to share them with you!
I’ve been wanting to make Struffoli ever since seeing Giada and her Aunt Raffy make it on her Christmas episode last year. But a year went by and I never did. While we were in Italy our favorite gelato place had struffoli, but it was called al forno. This was confusing to me because I think al forno means baked. I don’t know…maybe I read the sign wrong. I finally ordered it after eyeing the “al forno” for days. Surprise surprise…it was Struffoli. I liked it, but Kara didn’t because it tasted like black licorice. It seems there are not many people who don’t like black licorice. I assured Kara that Giada’s recipe was not anise flavored and convinced her to try it once we got home.
Giada used a glass and formed one large Struffoli in a circle shape around the glass. We chose to make our Struffoli in cupcake liners which worked for us because we prefer our desserts in individual servings.
Now that we’ve made the Struffoli for ourselves we know why Giada chose this recipe for a day when Aunt Raffy was there. This dessert is kind of tedious. We decided the prep work goes by a lot faster if you have two sets of hands rolling the dough into balls. Kara was busy with another recipe leaving me to do most of the rolling on my own. By the end I got a little sloppy!
If you’re looking for a traditional Italian dessert this is a great one to try. They are a must around Christmas time so unfortunately we’re a little late! They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The zest from the lemon and orange gives the dough a fresh, sweet flavor. And the hard work is worth it because they taste yummy and make a great presentation!
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
½ large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
1 teaspoon vanilla
canola oil, for frying
1 cup honey
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ cups hazelnuts, toasted (see note below)
sugar sprinkles, for decoration
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Start off making the dough. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough until ¼ inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut each piece of dough into ½ inch wide strips. Then cut each strip of pastry into ½ inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball, about the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan or a small fryer, pour enough oil to fill about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and excess oil. Transfer dough balls and hazelnuts to a large bowl.
In a large saucepan, combine honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the honey mixture on top of the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until evenly coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool for 2 minutes.
Scoop the dough into cupcake liners, about 2 tablespoons each. Decorate with sugar sprinkles and allow to set for 2 hours. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Note: To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. To easily remove the skins, transfer the hot hazelnuts to a kitchen towel, twist the towel closed tightly and rub vigorously. Most of the skins should fall off fairly easily. Cool hazelnuts completely before using.
Source: adapted from Giada de Laurentiis