These sweet fried honey balls are a traditional Neopolitan Christmas dessert. Struffoli is a very basic dessert made of flour, egg, sugar, citrus, and honey. It's one of those desserts that is most fun when made in a group. I'll often make the dough and then ask my kids to join in and help me roll the logs and form the struffoli balls.
My mother and aunts would often make large quantities of struffoli, shape them into wreaths or Christmas trees and gift them to friends and family. —erekavetrini
Oranges for Zesting
Lemon for Zesting
lemon juice or limoncello
Vegetable Oil or Peanut Oil
Sprinkles for decoration
In This Recipe
In a large bowl combine and whisk together the eggs, olive oil, 3 tbs of sugar, salt, orange zest from one orange, lemon zest, and lemon juice (or limoncello).
Slowly start to add the flour until the dough starts to form.
Lightly flour a wooden surface and turn the dough onto the surface.
Knead the dough into a smooth ball, cover with a cloth, and let rest for 1/2 an hour.
After the dough has rested for 1/2 hour, cut into smaller pieces and roll into thin 1/2 inch logs. Cut the logs into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll these pieces into small struffoli balls and set them aside.
Line a baking dish with paper towels. In a heavy bottom pan, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil to 350-375F. Start to fry the struffoli balls in batches. When the balls turn a golden brown remove them from the oil (using a slotted spoon) and place them on the paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Once all the struffoli are fried, grab a large high rimmed pan and heat; the honey, 1/2 cup sugar, and zest from 1 orange until the sugar has dissolved and the honey mixture begins to foam then remove from heat.
Add all of the struffoli to the pan and toss to make sure allnthe balls are coated in the honey mixture.
Form the struffoli into a wreath, or Christmas tree. Top with sprinkles and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.