Growing up, I have fond memories of struffoli being brought round by my Zia at Christmas time. This super sweet treat is traditionally made only at Christmas and is served on a plate in the same of a ring/crown. We mostly left the middle empty but some families add half an orange to finish it off.
Another scroll through my Facebook memories and I came across this beauty from 2010. I think this was one of the first times we attempted the struffoli at home, and as you can see the balls are all different sizes. I recommend keeping them the size of a pea as they do grow a little when you fry them.
You might also think that the amount of glaze is excessive, but trust me, you want them swimming in sweetness and you will find yourself dipping the balls in there as you just can’t get enough.
Prep time: 3 hours (including chill time and glaze prep) Cook time: 2 mins 30 seconds per batch for frying, 5-10 minutes for the glaze Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Serves: As many as can get their hands on it!
Doughballs 1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour + extra for dusting. 1 Orange – Zest & Juice 1 Lemon – Zest & Juice 1 1/2 Tbsp Caster Sugar 3/4 Tsp Salt 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder 57g Unsalted Butter, softened, diced 2 Medium eggs 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 1/2 cup Semola Flour
For Frying 4 Cups Vegetable Oil/Rapeseed Oil for frying
Glaze 1/2 Tbsp Brandy 1/2 Cup Runny Honey 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
To decorate Sprinkles Glacé Cherries Flaked Almonds
In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients including the orange and lemon zest.
In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients with the butter until the lumps are almost gone. When it looks powdery, stop the processor.
On a low speed, slowly add the eggs and vanilla extract, blending until fully combined. Increase the speed until a dough forms.
Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for a few minutes until it feels smooth and form a ball. Cover in cling film and leave in the fridge for around 30-45 minutes.
Prepare a baking tray with the semola flour – there should only be enough to lightly coat the surface of the dough balls prior to frying.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and on a lightly flour dusted surface, roll to form a sausage around the width of your pinky finger.
Cut into roughly pieces the width of your index finger and then roll into balls. These should be slightly larger than a pea.
Lightly dust the balls into the semola flour and set aside until you’re ready to fry.
In a saucepan, slowly heat the oil over a medium flame. This should take around 10-15 minutes. You can test if the oil is ready by frying 1 ball – you want it to start frying instantly otherwise it will just suck up the oil, but you don’t want it to be too hot that it burns the outside and leaves the inside raw.
When ready, fry the balls in batches, for around 1.5-2.5 minutes. You want them to be a golden brown colour.
Remove and place them on a plate lined with kitchen roll. Repeat until all the balls are ready.
Combine the honey, brandy, sugar and lemon juice in a small sauce pan on a medium heat.
Stir continuously until all the sugar is completely dissolved.
Turn off the heat, add the fried dough balls and carefully stir to coat all the balls and then transfer to a plate.
Arrange the balls in the form of a ring with a hole in the middle and then pour over the remaining honey mixture, sprinkles and glazed cherries.