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Honey Covered Fritters/Struffoli (tiny balls of fried dough, without yeast, shaped into a ring or pyramid, decorated)
Originated from: Naples, Campania
Occasion: St. Joseph's Day & other holidays
Contributed by: Taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi"

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3 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons, plus 1/2 cup sugar reserved
1/4 teaspoon salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon baking poswer
2 cups all-purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying

1 cup good quality honey
colored sprinkles/candied orange or lemon peel for garnish
confectioners sugar


With an electric mixer, beat eggs, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, lemon zest, and orange zest.

Mix baking powder with flour and stir into egg mixture to form soft dough.

On a floured surface, divide dough into 4 equal parts.

Roll each piece into a rope, about the width of a finger, and about 12 inches long.

Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces, as if forming gnocchi.

Place struffoli on a floured sheet pan, and repeat with remaining dough.

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches.

Heat oil to 375 degrees F.

Drop a few struffoli into oil; they will puff up as they cook.

With a a slotted spoon, turn regularly.

Continue to cook until golden brown.

Place cooked struffoli on paper towels to drain.

When all struffoli have been fried, heat honey and remaining 1/2 cup sugar over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

Keep honey warm over low heat, adding a few fried struffoli at a time.

Turn them with a wooden spoon to coat well with honey.

Transfer struffoli to a large plate, and mound them into a pyramid or a ring, shaping with wet hands.

Decorate with the sprinkles/candied orange or lemon peel.

Let stand for 2 to 3 hours, dust with confections sugar and serve.

YIELD: 3 dozen


This recipe was taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi" (Crabtree Press, 2010) with the expressed permission of the author, an award-winning Italian-American chef and owner of "Rizzo's Malabar Inn." "Rizzo's Malabar Inn" is located in southwestern Pennsylvania (126 Rizzo Road, Crabtree, Salem Township). The food served at this restaurant, a local landmark dating back to the 1920s, reflects the culinary traditions of Abruzzo and Molise. Rizzi DeFabo notes in his cookbook "These struffoli are traditionally made and placed on the Saint Joseph table. Many of our patrons and friends remember this treat from childhood when their mothers and grandmothers served them, stacked high on platters, for Saint Joseph's Day and other holidays." Photo: Mary Melfi

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