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Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and, one at a time, stir in the eggs. Add the vanilla and mix the well to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into a ¼ -inch-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into ½ -inch-wide stripes. Roll each strip under the palms of your hands on the work surface to make long pencil-thick ropes. Cut the ropes into ¼ -inch pieces. Transfer the dough pieces to a large rimmed baking sheet.

Line another large rimmed baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Pour enough oil into a large wide saucepan to come halfway up the sides and heat over high heat to 350 degrees F.

Working in batches, without crowding, add the dough pieces and deep-fry, turning them as needed, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

Lightly oil a round serving dish. Heat the honey in a large skillet over medium heat until fluid. Add the balls and stir until completely coated. Spoon the balls onto the baking sheet. Garnish with the nonpareils and cherries. Let cool.

Struffoli - Recipes

An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours. Buon Appetito!

- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

- 1 tablespoon sambuca liqueur

- 2/3 cup wildflower or clover honey

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and zests. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. In the center of the bowl, make a well in the flour by pushing it up along the sides of the bowl.

2. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla and sambuca into the well. Using a wooden spoon or a strong spatula, begin mixing the flour into the wet ingredients. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough starts to form.

3. Turn the shaggy dough out onto a floured work surface. Continue kneading the dough until it forms a smooth ball, adding more flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.

4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour.

5. Uncover the dough and cut it into four sections. Using your hands, roll each section into a long rope measuring approximately 1/2 inch in diameter.

6. Cut the ropes into small pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Flour them lightly so that they do not stick to each other.

7. Heat a large pan with oil for frying over medium high heat.

8. When the oil is hot enough, fry the dough pieces in batches until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove the fried balls from the oil and drain them on cookie sheets lined with paper towels.

9. Repeat step 8 until all of the dough has been fried.

10. Place the struffoli balls into a mixing bowl.

11. In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, warm the honey until it is a thin liquid consistency.

12. Pour the honey over the balls and then, using a spatula, gently fold the balls into the honey to coat them well.

13. Pour the coated balls out onto a serving tray and form them into whatever shape you desire. Decorate the struffoli with the candied fruit and nonpareils.

But if you ask anyone in my family in Sicily what they would traditionally eat as a sweet on Christmas Eve or Day, they would say Pignolata! Pignolata is one of the most popular southern Italian sweets made for Christmas.

You can find struffoli (another name for pignolata)in Perugia made with honey, sugar and candied fruits. It used to be made in Sicily usually during Carnevale, but is now also made during Christmas. You can find pignolata in different parts of Sicily with different names: pignocata, pagnuccata, pignolata.

My Calabrian mother-in-law when asked when is the time to make pignolata would say whenever it is time to celebrate! Since I have known her, she has made pignolata for Christmas, birthdays, Easter, a Communion. She hasn’t reserved it just for Christmas time, and rightfully so! These mini balls of fried dough are sort of addictive with their sweet honey coating and the dash of festive sprinkles!

Holiday Recipe: Struffoli di Natale

By: Francesca Montillo, The Lazy Italian

What would an Italian Christmas be without Struffoli? It certainly would be lighter, that’s for sure! These little things are addictive, baby bombs of deliciousness and they are only permitted in my household at Christmastime. Why? Because there’s no restraint around them, so best to not make them too often!

As I love baking, I am always trying new things, inventing new desserts, consulting with mom (of course!) on what might work and what not, but there are a handful of staples you can’t mess around with at Christmas. Of course, got to have some biscotti, anise cookies, the pizzelle, butterballs, a jam crostata and the struffoli. Anything more than that and we’re just being greedy, which, of course, we are, no reason to hide it. Thankfully, the New Year is right around the corner and we all promise we will do better in the New Year, right? Ha!

These are not so hard to make, but the do require a bit more work than some of my lazier recipes. But they are worth the effort, if only once a year. These are festive and are only generally prepared around Christmas. While any weekend is worthy of a crostata or quick anise cookies, these are saved for just this time of year. So put aside an hour or two this holiday season and make your family some delicious Struffoli!

Cutting the pieces of dough.

All the pieces have been cut.

What is Struffoli

The etymology does not change the result: struffoli are the most Neapolitan sweets that exist. On a par with the sfogliatella and the famous pastiera, and certainly more than the baba, of Polish origin. Many also attribute the name to the fat with which they are made and in which, at one time, they were fried: lard (in Italian Strutto).

Speaking of historical recipes and remembering that Campania and Sicily belonged to the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, struffoli are also found in Palermo but with some small variations and the first substantial is the loss of an f, in fact there they call them “strufoli”.

Whatever its history, one thing is certain: at Christmas time, wherever you go, you eat struffoli and they are definitely an inevitable part of the Christmas holidays: there is no house where there are not them, the kings of the Christmas table.

Struffoli is an ancient recipe, which is handed down in families, whose custom is to gather in the days before the holidays to prepare it all together!

Welcome to! This blog is dedicated to the Italian cooking that I grew up on, Italian wine making and family traditions.

As a child, growing up a Sicilian, in New York, the aromas of this fine cooking permeating my home were an everyday occurrence. Getting to eat this fine Italian Cooking, from Grandma, I quickly became spoiled.

Here, I will share my modern day experiences, re-creating in the present from the memories of the past.

I think what makes this website different from others like it, is that I am just a regular guy. I am not a chef, nor do I do I cook for a living. You will not find me on Food Network! Not that I think there is anything wrong with Food Network. The point being is I am not some famous chef on TV. Just a regular every day Sicilian guy with no formal chef training.

So, if I can cook these Italian recipes, so can you! No special skills or training is required. All of the Italian recipes I present here are simple.

When I cook, most of the time, I believe less is more. I don't like to over complicate dishes. Flavors, in my opinion, should not compete with one another, but should support and enhance each other. Gourmet doesn't have to be complicated. It should be defined with that it tastes good.

Please feel free to give my Italian Recipes a try. Modify them as you wish.

And, if you enjoy them, please pass them down to your children and grandchildren! Build family traditions and memories around these Italian dishes.

As my grandmother used to say, Italian food is about love. To the memory of my Grandmother, I dedicate this site.

By purchasing from my Amazon store, you will be helping out a nice Siciliano boy! Grazie!

Easy Struffoli

Struffoli is a traditional Neopolitan dessert that is mainly comprised of fried dough circles roughly the size of marbles.The name Struffoli actually originates from the Greek word “strongulous” which means “rounded”. Some consider Struffoli to be a cookie while others describe it as just dough fritters. The dish is typically made around Christmastime and is arranged on a plate in a ring to represent a Christmas wreath or in a cone shape to simulate a Christmas tree. Multi colored sprinkles or candies are often mixed in with the Struffoli to make them even more festive.

Struffoli can be served at room temperature or sometimes warm. The dough is customarily fried in olive oil (however many now use vegetable or canola oil instead) and then tossed with honey, cinnamon and orange rind. While the outside of the dough is nice and crispy, the inside remains light and fluffy making the Struffoli all too easy to pop into your mouth!

This amazing Italian dessert may look complicated as any dessert this eye catching must be difficult to make. However, you do not need to be a professional pastry chef to make delicious Struffoli right in your own home. The dough for this recipe is made in a food processor and the ingredients are simply mixed together until a nice, smooth dough ball forms. The dough is left to rest then rolled into balls, floured and fried. Honey syrup is then tossed with the Struffoli and plated however you’d like. Voila! A perfect Italian dessert.

List of Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 C. of flour
  • 3/4 C. of honey
  • 1/2 C. of sugar
  • 1/4 c. + 2 TSP. of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1 orange
  • Peanut oil
  • Sugar sprinkles
  • Grand Marnier
  • Salt


In a large bowl, combine the flour with the sugar, the softened butter chopped into small pieces, the eggs, the egg yolks, the grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1 tangerine, a pinch of salt and a splash of Grand Marnier.

Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth ball cover and let it rest for 2 hours.

Pull off small amounts of the dough and form ropes about 3/10 of an inch thick cut them into small pieces and roll them between your hands to form small balls, then fry them in hot oil, a few at a time, until golden. Drain them on paper towels.

Warm the honey in a large saucepan and, when it has melted, drop the struffoli into it and mix until they are all well covered.

Remove the struffoli from the honey and set them on a serving plate. Decorate them with sugar sprinkles.


For the honey glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Cook, over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Do not bring to a boil.

Keep warm until ready to use.

For the struffoli:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well to combine.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and zest using a hand mixer.

Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a high-sided skillet, heat a couple inches of oil to 350°F.

Using a bench scraper, cut off 1/2-inch pieces of the dough.

Roll the dough into a rope slightly thicker than a 1/4-inch in width.

Use the bench scraper to cut the rope into 1/4-inch pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball they do not need to be perfect and should be approximately the size of a hazelnut.

Repeat until all the dough has been shaped.

Working in small batches, carefully add the dough balls to the oil and fry until lightly golden brown, about 45-60 seconds.

Place the drained balls into a large bowl.

Drizzle all but a few tablespoons of the warm honey glaze over the balls and gently toss to coat.

Place the balls onto a serving plate, drizzle the remaining glaze over the top and sprinkle with the nonpareils.

Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

Stir the flour, sugar, lemon and orange zest and salt together in a bowl and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, butter and grappa to it. With your fingertips, work the eggs, butter and grappa together until more or less blended, then begin working in the dry ingredients. Continue working the dough until it is smooth and evenly blended. Gather the dough together into a ball, wipe the dough from your hands and add it to the dough ball. Clean your hands and the work surface, flour both lightly and knead the dough until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Pull off a plum size piece of the dough and roll it out with your palms and fingers to a rope about 1/3 inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut the dough ropes crosswise into 1/3-inch lengths. Roll the pieces of dough between your hands into balls.

Pour the oil into a wide, deep skillet or braising pan and heat over medium heat until a deep frying thermometer registers 350° degrees F or a dough ball gives off a lively sizzle when slipped into the oil. Carefully slide about one-fourth of the dough balls into the oil and fry, turning and immersing them with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer them with the skimmer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, first allowing any excess oil to drip back into the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, allowing the oil to return to the correct temperature before frying the next batch.

Have a bowl of cold water and a serving plate large enough to hold the finished struffoli (about 12 inches in diameter) close by. Stir the honey, sugar and water together in a heavy wide pot large enough to hold all the dough balls over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring the syrup to a boil. The syrup will foam up dramatically when it comes to a boil. Continue cooking until the foam dies down and the mixture becomes just a shade darker [ok?], about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately add all the fried dough balls. Toss them in the syrup with a wire skimmer until they are coated. Remove the dough balls from the syrup with the skimmer, allowing excess syrup to drip back into the pan first, and mound them on the serving plate like a pyramid, helping yourself with your hands from time to time, after dipping them into the cold water to protect them.

Scatter the sprinkles over the mound of struffoli until it is colorful. You may serve them the same day, however it also keeps well for several days covered loosely with plastic wrap.