Dream Dishes: Antonia Aquilante’s Struffoli

November 2, 2015

I come from an Italian-American family, which means we all gather around a table filled with a lot of food at the holidays. Much, if not most of it, is traditionally Italian. We even eat a pasta course before the turkey on Thanksgiving (and on Christmas too!), and Christmas Eve means eating fish. We eat holiday meals that are in multiple courses and take hours and are always accompanied by so much talking and laughter. I love those meals. And I love preparing for them too, helping with the cooking and setting the table for the family. I enjoy cooking and baking anyway, but I always enjoy it more at the holidays.

As much food as we have at those holiday meals, we have as many desserts. We bake for days beforehand – cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cheesecake. Some desserts are made every year; others are tried on a whim. I have a fondness for the recipes we make each year, the traditional Italian recipes that have been passed down in my family and have been made year after year since long before I was born. I love them not only because they’re delicious, but also because of the history in them, the sense of connection and family I feel preparing them.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one of those recipes. They’re a Southern Italian dessert called Struffoli. Struffoli are little balls of dough that are fried so they’re crunchy on the outside and light on the inside and are then coated in honey. They’re easy to make, which is good because a batch never lasts long in my family. If we make them too long before Christmas, they disappear and we always end up having to make more.

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 Here’s what you need:

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 tablespoon Butter, softened

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups flour **

Vegetable oil for frying

1 cup honey

1/2 cup sugar

colored nonpariel sprinkles

Whisk together eggs, butter, and 1 teaspoon of sugar until foamy.  Add baking powder and mix in. Add flour.  Work the mixture into a soft dough with your hands.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rope the width of your index finger and 12 inches long.  Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces and roll into balls.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a large sauce pan or a deep fryer.  Fry the struffoli a few handfuls at a time until they puff up and are golden brown.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the struffoli to a paper towel to drain.

Combine the honey and the 1/2 cup sugar in a large sauce pan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and keep it warm over low heat.  Add the fried struffoli, a few at a time, to the honey mixture and turn them to coat on all sides.  Transfer the struffoli to a large platter and mound them into a pyramid.  Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles and let stand 1 to 2 hours. (Or eat them warm – that happens in our house too!) The recipe makes about 48 struffoli.

** Struffoli can be made gluten free, and they turn out just as tasty. Substitute gluten free flour for the flour in the recipe in the same measure. Depending on what gluten free flour you use, you may need to add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum with the flour.

 

The holidays are my favorite time of year, and I’m happy to have the chance to share one of my family’s recipes with you. I hope you enjoy this holiday treat as much as we do, and I hope you have a lovely holiday season!

 

Find Antonia here:

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/antoniaquilante

2 Responses to “Dream Dishes: Antonia Aquilante’s Struffoli”

  1. Lena says:

    I will definitely try this recipe, love making something new to taste and this one seem to be straight forward. Thanks for sharing Antonia and merry x-mas ;D

  2. I hope you enjoy them, Lena! :-)

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