Struffoli is one of the MUST HAVE dishes in our home at Christmas time. Specific to Napoli, the dessert shows the influences which penetrated the city; not dissimilar to Greek / Turkish Lokma where deep-fried dough is immersed in syrup. Struffoli, although similar in concept are hazelnut sized balls and eaten when set and hardened. Jewelled with candied peel and sugar covered Fennel seeds and Cinnamon shards, Struffoli bears an incredible resemblance to the national dessert of Tatarstan called Çäkçäk . I like to think there is some connection between Napoli and the Central Asian country, a connection which stretches way beyond the Mediterranean Sea.
Serves 10 – 12
400g Type ‘0’ Flour
Zest of 1/2 Lemon, and 1/2 Orange
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Rum
1 Pinch Salt
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Oil for frying
300g Set Honey
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
‘Confetti’ – Hundred and Thousands, Sugar Covered Seeds, Silver Balls
Chopped Mixed Glace Fruit (I used Pumpkin, Orange Peel and Lime.)
Start by making dough and leaving enough time to let it rest for at least an hour. Mix flour with eggs, sugar, salt, citrus zest, rum and bicarbonate of soda together using hands. When it comes together turn out on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge.
When rested, roll dough into lines of 1 – 1.5 cm width using hands. Note; Dough is very elastic!! Cut into squares then roll into balls – these should be hazelnut sized when cooked – take into consideration they’ll expand when cooking.
Fill a pan with at least a three finger depth of sunflower or vegetable oil. When extremely hot fry dough balls until golden, turning with skimmer or slotted spoon to ensure even cooking. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Meanwhile prepare the syrup in a separate pan. Melt the honey and sugar in a little water. Bring to the boil and simmer until mixture thickens and clarifies (about 15 – 20 minutes). Add lemon juice.
When all dough balls are fried add to syrup turning over and over to ensure an even coating. Add peel and confetti, conserving a some for decorating top of dessert.
Arrange on a serving dish and leave to cool and set before serving.
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