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Have you heard of today’s recipe? Hailing from Naples, Italy, strufoli is considered the quintessential holiday dessert. But honestly, it’s so great you can make it anytime.
So what exactly is strufoli? Simply put, they’re deep fried honey balls. With a dough similar to sugar cookies, it is rolled out into long snakes then cut into small balls and deep fried in oil, then receives a sweet honey coating. But that’s what it would be if this was your Nana’s recipe. With my version, I decided to change things up. These delectable little reindeer poops are coated in a slightly different mixture of maple syrup and pecan bourbon. If you’d like to stick to the traditional version, it’s super easy. Omit the glaze and use honey instead, then toss with some festive sprinkles.
Melanie, one of my best friends and whose Nana I got this recipe from, has been making this for years. Now, I’ve known her since I was an awkward pre-teen so that means I’ve had plenty of opportunity to try this dish, but I hadn’t until recently. She made strufoli for one of our sleepovers once and used green sugar sprinkles, which then dissolved in the honey and turned the entire thing green. Imagine five 15-year-old girls screaming “Ewww, they’re green!” And that was the life and death of strufoli among our friends. I could kick myself for not trying it then, as it truly is delicious. Moral of the story: don’t use sugar sprinkles.
But you wont have to worry about that if you make my version, as they’re tossed with pecans instead. It adds a lovely crunch and pairs amazingly with the maple syrup and bourbon.
So boozy or not, this dessert rates five stars with me. Why not give it a try?
Until next time. X
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Items used in this recipe:
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Not Your Nana’s Strufoli
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 TB vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 c. AP flour, sifted
- 2 TB baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- flour, for dusting
- vegetable or canola oil, for frying
For the glaze:
- 1 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 1 oz pecan bourbon, or other smooth bourbon
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar, oil and salt until combined.
- Slowly stir in 2 cups of the sifted flour, baking powder, vanilla and lemon juice. Knead in the remaining flour with your hands, adding an egg white if mixture is too dry.
- Flour your hands and a flat work surface, then separate a handful of mixture and roll into a 1/4″ wide tube. Cut into squares and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dough until complete.
- Fry a handful at a time in oil heated to 350°F, about 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spoon and let drain.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and bourbon. Transfer the fried balls to a large bowl and pour the maple bourbon mixture over it. Add the pecans and toss to coat.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Refrigeration will cause the strufoli to harden.
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