Translate This Page...

Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Struffoli (Neapolitan Christmas Doughnut Balls)

As you can tell from the picture on the left, it is that time of year again. The tree is up, the lights are on, Santa is trimming his beard, the weather has turned cold(ish), (or hot(ish) if your in the other hemisphere), it can mean only one thing!  No, not that.

Yes, that's right, its almost Christmas, and more importantly the time for Christmas food. Now that I no longer get decent presents (toys). One of my favourite things about Christmas, aside from the day itself and the fish eating frenzy feast of the eve, are the sweet treats which are on offer during the whole build-up period.

One which always never fails to remind me of my childhood, are Neapolitan Struffoli.

Struffoli are tiny round doughnut balls, slightly crunchy, but soaked in a lovely, honey syrup, and are covered in sugar sprinkles.  I guess, primarily they are aimed for children to enjoy, but who isn't a big child at heart.  I adore them, and could eat platefuls.

At this point, im going to be brutally honest. They are delicious, yes, but time consuming, and frightfully boring to make.  However if you are able to engage the assistance of willing hands, and promise them spoils, and wonderful gifts beyond their wildest dreams (a blatant lie) you might make light work of it.

Also it has got to be said again, they are delicious.

Essentially, its a simple dough, chilled, and then broken into tiny pieces, and rolled into marble sized balls.  These are then fried, and dunked into a honey syrup, and finally served on a platter, with more syrup poured on top, and lastly sprinkled with candid fruits, and sugar sprinkles.

(Enough for 2 serving platters)

For the dough balls,
400g (approx 14 oz) plain flour
4 eggs (medium size)
50g (approx 2oz) butter, softened
1 and a half teaspoon, of baking powder (optional)
1 tablespoon of Sugar, granulated or caster

For the Syrup,
70-100ml water, used to loosen honey
6 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of sugar

For the frying,
4-5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

To finish,
Some diced candid fruit (optional)
Some sugar sprinkles


-Pour the flour, baking powder (if using), and sugar into a large size bowl. Meanwhile soften the butter in a microwave. As seen below.

- Next make a small well in the flour and into it break the 4 eggs, and add the softened butter.

- Next using the handle of a wooden spoon, or a chop stick for example. Move and combine the mixture. If you were to plunge your hands in right away, you will end up wearing most of the mixture.

- Once combined, dive in with your hand(s) and bring the dough together. Do not be tempted to add water, it is going to be a relatively dry hard, dough mixture. Do not worry about leaving a few dry bits at the bottom.

- Now wrap the dough in some clingfilm (foodwrap) and place it into a fridge for around 10-20 minutes to cool it down and to rest. This will ensure the dough balls "blow-up" when you fry them later.

- Next, take the dough ball out the fridge, unwrap it. You should find its looking nice and smooth and moist.

- Cut the dough into a few parts, and begin to roll out one in a similar manner as if you were going to make gnocchi. Create a sausage shape using a dusting of flour.

- Next using the palm of your hand take each small section and create ball shapes, aim for marble size and smaller. Keep in mind these will expand slightly so think small. No matter how tempting it is to make larger balls, resist. We are not making meatballs!!

- Next add the syrup ingredients into a milk pan, and bring to a simmer, to create a honey syrup.  Turn off the heat once it becomes a nice thick syrup.

- In a frying pan, add the vegetable oil, and bring to a medium high temperature. In the oil, fry around a dozen or so of the balls until they turn a golden brown colour, put them onto some kitchen roll, to drain.

- Once you have fried the full amount, pour them into the syrup mixture, and using a spoon make sure they are well coated in the syrup. Once well coated, pour them onto a serving platter, sprinkle over the candid fruits, spoon over any remaining syrup, and finish with some sugar sprinkles.

- If you cover these and keep them in the fridge, these will keep for days, unless you eat them all of course. Enjoy!


Mari said...

Are these what we call Zeppoles in the States? If so, I LOVE THESE!

Hiperica di Lady Boheme said...

Ciao Luigi, the struffoli are delicious, and this is a great recipe! Good evening

Donna said...

Yum! I'll take a dozen.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

Oh wow! I saw these the other day on a repeat of Mario and Giado do Christmas. (Or something like that!) Another delicious recipe that I have to try!!! BTW, love the pics!!!

Luigi said...

Mari, Zeppoles are much bigger, and more like doughnuts. They are just sprinkled with sugar. These are tiny semi-crunchy honey soaked balls, covered in syrup.

On their way Donna!

Gracie mille LadyB! e Buona sera anche a te!

Hi Leslie, not heard of Mario and Giado, we see a few of the American Chefs over here. It's mainly Rachel Ray, and Tyler Florence though. And thanks for the nice words.

Reneé DeLano said...

wow! nice job! amazing!

Joanne said...

i'm pretty sure that these, more than any other dessert remind me of Christmas. We always have them around during this time of year and no one LOVE loves them but they are just so great for picking on. They are also semi-addictive. Once you have have to have at least fifty. Yours look just like the storebought ones, probably better. Thanks for the recipe! One day I will impress the family by whipping up a batch.

Tania said...

Wow, struffoli are my favourite Christmas sweets!

Fausta said...

Ciao, I found your blog on Lady Boheme's food blog and I really like it!! Fausta

chow and chatter said...

hope you had lots of willing hand they look awesome oh and what a great christmas tree
Merry Christmas Luigi


Frank said...

Ciao Luigi, My nonna Angelina would make struffoli for Christmas, too! We called them 'honey balls' in English. I thought it was her special recipe until I visited Naples and Sorrento and found them in every bakery window. What a let down! LOL!

Total Pageviews