Friday, December 7, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Struffoli (Christmas Honey Balls / Doughnuts)

Another surprise in the Cooking The Neapolitan Way chapter!
I guess it is a chapter for odds and ends in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

My Sicilian Aunt Betty served it every year.
It wouldn't have been Christmas dinner without Struffoli

If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer test the oil:
a small bit of the dough dropped in the oil should sizzle,
bounce around and turn brown in a minute.

Well covered Struffoli keeps a few days at room temperature.

According to The Neapolitan Way, portions of Struffoli are served by breaking off 
portions with 2 large spoons or a salad server.
According to my Sicilian Aunt Betty, portions of Struffoli are broken off 
by kids grabbing at it and pulling off bits.

Struffoli is a mound of tiny fried dough balls, dipped in honey.
But, at Christmas, Struffoli is so much more!


Serves 12

In a large bowl combine
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs
Stir until well blended.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board.
Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes).
If the dough is sticky, add more flour.
Shape the dough into a ball.
Cover with the large bowl, overturned.
Let rest 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces.
Roll a piece between your palms into a 1/2 inch thick rope.
Cut the rope into 1/2 inch portions.
If the pieces are sticky, dust the board or your hands.
Repeat with the other 7 pieces.

In a deep saucepan or deep fryer pour
about 2 inches vegetable oil
Heat to 370ยบ on a deep-fry thermometer.

Being careful to not splash the hot oil,
gently slip a few pieces of dough into the oil.
Don't crowd or they won't fry properly.
Cook, stirring a couple of times, about 2 minutes,
until they are crisp and golden.

Remove the Struffoli with a slotted spoon.
Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

When all the balls have been fried, pour into a large shallow pan
1 1/2 Cups honey
Simmer gently.
Remove from heat.
Add the Struffoli and stir well.

Pile the Struffoli on a large platter.
Decorate with
Chopped candied peel or candied cherries, 
multicolored candy sprinkles, or toasted sliced almonds

Would I make Struffoli again?
Christmas dinner without Struffoli
No way. 
Not in Naples, Sicily, Malta or my home in Winnipeg.

One recipe down.  Sixty-nine more to go. 

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