Struffala: Italian Honey Balls
You know Christmas is here when ...
the pyramids of honey balls (stuffala in Italian) start to appear in bakeries. The only problem is all of the bakeries I've bought them from bake them, and I call those "air balls," and that's what they taste like.
My mother (may she rest in peace) always fried the struffula, that's the way I make them now that she's gone. Struffoli is the right way to spell it in Italian; these honey balls have been in my family for generations. This I my family recipe, and I hope you and your family enjoy them as my as I did and still do. Happy holidays to all my readers!
The dough can be made the night before, you can even form the dough balls and freeze them if need be; I recommend you start early in the morning, fried food of any kind tastes better when served fresh. Once they are finished and soaked in honey they last a few days, although you should add the sprinkles at the last minute or the colors run and makes them look muddy.
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 2 eggs (some people only use the yolks)
- 1/2 cup of Crico
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 - 3 tablespoons of Stock Sweet Vermouth
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (some say to leave this out)
- Mix all your dry ingredients first, then cut in the Crisco (vegetable shortening). I add the lemon zest, sugar and Vermouth to the eggs. Combine all together and let rest for 20 minutes. The easiest way to make the marble sized balls (perhaps a little bigger than a marble) is to roll the dough into ropes and cut off pieces that way; you don't want to make them too big, you may have to roll the pieces a little bit to make them round (or you can leave them a little rustic looking).
- I use vegetable oil or peanut oil (which can be a little expensive); you can try your own blend. Heat the oil enough so when you drop a test struffala in it gets golden quickly (about a minute); just make sure you don't heat the oil to where it starts to smoke. These recipes were seldom written down, they were passed from mother to daughter; I've tried my best to give you my family recipe. Don't put them all in the oil do about 10 - 15 at a time otherwise the oil bubbles up on you and gets foamy. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to fish them out of the oil and onto brown paper bag or paper towel; let them cool on a drying rack, then coat them with the honey sauce plate them and sprinkle some cake sprinkles on them at the last minute (the little round ones not the ones you put on ice cream cones).
Struffala / Honey Balls Coated in Honey Sauce
- 16 ounce jar of honey of your choice
- zest and juice of an orange
- Add the above ingredients in a saucepan over a low to medium flame and reduce until it thickens; let it cool a little then coat your Stuffala after you fry them, add cake sprinkles last (you can also add some orange zest to taste).
First You Make A Rope - and cut it into marble-size segments
turning it a little each time you cut a piece.