MAKES ABOUT 8 - 10 DOZEN
Father Jonathan DeFelice's maternal grandmother, Adelina Balzano, was a marvelous family cook. Among her many specialties for holiday celebrations were these struffoli that are very typical of the region of southern Italy from which she emigrated in 1900. The recipe has a rather unusual measurement, but it works! After her grandmother's death his mother, Eleanor DeFelice, continued the tradition; and now, as Father Jon says, "I am blessed to do so too."
6 half-egg shells of vegetable oil
4 half-egg shells of water
5 cups of flour or more as needed
Corn oil for frying
At least 1 cup honey, heated
In a bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in the oil and water. In a large bowl or on a work surface make a well with the flour and slowly pour in the egg mixture, working the flour into it until a fairly stiff dough forms.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-8 minutes until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or wax paper and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Take a piece of the dough at a time and roll into quarter-inch ropes. Cut the ropes into quarter inch pieces with a sharp knife.
In a wide skillet heat at least 1 inch of oil to about 350 degrees. Fry the struffoli in batches until brown on all sides, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Turn with a slotted spoon. The struffoli will expand and almost double in size. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper (towels or brown bag).
When all the struffoli are fried, heat the honey until hot but not boiling. Place the struffoli in a large bowl and pour the honey over them, mixing with a spoon to coat them on all sides.
Turn them out onto a large round platter and with slightly moistened hands form into a wreath-like ring or mound them to shape like a Christmas tree. Decorate with multi-colored sprinkles. Let stand until cool. Cover with wax paper until ready to serve.
This recipe comes from Father Jonathan DeFelice and is featured on show 1714, Heavenly Desserts — Dolci Celeste.
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