The struffoli are considered to be Naples oldest desserts. They were, in fact, introduced by the Greek settlers when they built the famous town of Partenope (the old name of the town) during the seventh century b. C. Together with other typical Neapolitan pastries they are always present among the whole range of delicious Christmas desserts.
They are easy and quick to make and they turn into a special after dinner treat.They simply taste delicious.
Here is my recipe
400 gr all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon anise liqueur
zest from half a lemon
zest from half an orange
1 pinch of salt
270 gr sugar
250 gr honey
150 gr candied fruit (orange peel, lemon peel, cedro peel)
50 gr colorful Diavolini sprinkles
50 gr Cannellini sprinkles – long shaped white confetti (bonbons)
20 gr yeast
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
In order to prepare the dough, combine flour and sugar in a large bowl or on a lightly floured surface. Stir in a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre of the mound and add the eggs and the yeast crumbled. Use your hands to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then punch down the centre of the dough with your fist and add a few drops of the anise liqueur, the lemon zest and the orange zest. Stir the mixture until well combined and add some more flour if the dough is still sticky. When it is smooth and elastic again, create a ball and place the dough into a bowl, cover it with a damp tea towel and set it aside in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, tip it on a clean and floured surface and cut the dough into small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Then, using your hands, roll each ball into a long rope, like a thin sausage, ¼ inch thick. Cut it into small pieces about the size of a hazelnut and place them all on parchment paper. Continue until you have used up all the dough.
Fill a deep saucepan with vegetable frying oil until it is at least 5 centimeters high and place it on medium heat. When the oil reaches the boiling temperature carefully drop the balls, one by one, into it and watch the balls bubble up into a golden brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Stir them until they are golden brown on all sides. They should be crunchy on the outside but light in texture. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the struffoli on a tray lined with kitchen paper and toss them to make sure that they drain properly. Quiclky continue frying all the remaining dough balls until all of them turn into a golden brown colour and let them drip.
Pour the honey into a large pot and heat it until it is slightly runny, then turn off the heat and add all the cooked struffoli, the candied fruit (orange, lemon or cedro peels) and the bonbons (confetti). Stir until they are completely coated in the honey mixture. Transfer the struffoli onto a serving dish and arrange them into a Christmas round wreath shape or a large mound or any other shape you may desire. Drizzle the remaining honey over the struffoli and decorate them with colorful sprinkles and anything else sweet and tempting. Let them cool and serve them after a few hours at room temperature.