The Neapolitan tradition gives us some simply incredible sweet recipes.
Among them, we should definitely mention struffoli, balls of fried sweet dough that are first dipped in honey and then decorated with colored sprinkles and candied fruit.
It is a typical Christmas dessert that undoubtedly deserves to be brought to our tables during the holidays.
Neapolitan Struffoli, the history
When did the original recipe for Neapolitan struffoli originate?
There is no certain information about it, but it seems that the origins are very ancient.
Apparently, in fact, it was the Greeks who brought this dessert to the Gulf of Naples, during the time of Partenope.
Even the name seems to be of Greek origin.
The term struffoli may in fact derive from strongoulos, meaning rounded in shape.
However, this is only a theory.
It is in fact possible that this term derives from rubbing, which is the gesture that must be performed when working the dough to roll it into the shape of a cylinder.
There are those who say it could mean the rubbing of the palate, in the sense that it tickles given its sweet and simply delicious flavor.
For making the dough:
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/8 cup of sugar
- fine salt to taste
- 3 eggs and 2 yolks
- orange and lemon peel to taste
- 1/2 cup of butter
For the topping:
- 1 cup of honey (mixed-flower)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- lemon and orange peel to taste
- colored sprinkles to taste
- candied orange to taste
- candied cherries to taste
- oil for frying
Here is how to proceed.
Pour the flour into a bowl along with sugar, salt, lemon and orange zest, butter, eggs and yolks.
Knead everything together and as soon as a smooth mixture is obtained, let it rest covered for about an hour’s time.
Cut out chunks of about 1 centimeter, maximum 2, from the dough.
Fry them in boiling oil until golden brown.
Place them to rest on paper towels.
At this point you can prepare the topping.
Pour the honey, sugar, orange and lemon zest into a saucepan along with the water.
Bring to a boil and continue cooking until a yellow mixture is obtained.
Dip the struffoli into the honey along with also some of the candied fruit, about half.
Turn the sweets upside down on a tray, creating the shape you prefer, traditionally in the shape of a hill.
Decorate with the remaining candied fruit and sprinkles.
Let cool before serving, preferably for a couple of hours.
Neapolitan struffoli, the mistakes not to make
Preparing struffoli is not as complicated as it might seem.
However, there are some small common mistakes that you should avoid if you want to get the best result.
How to avoid foaming when frying struffoli?
To avoid this risk, it is important to avoid using an excessive amount of flour when rolling out the dough and forming the pieces.
The choice of oil is also crucial, better in fact to choose sunflower seed oil or alternatively peanut oil.
In any case, the oil must reach a temperature of 350 F.
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