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
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.
- 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!