Donna Rossi's Struffoli (from Mama's Rossi's Italian Kitchen)

(Source: Donna Rossi) (Source: Donna Rossi)
(Source: Donna Rossi) (Source: Donna Rossi)

This is a tradition of Italians from the Naples area – my mom’s region of origin. These were always in our house at Christmastime. And they are a favorite today of some very special people in my life.

Enjoy a treat from Mama Rossi’s Italian Kitchen!

Ingredients
2 cups of flour
1 large lemon zested fine (about 2 teaspoons) 
1/22 large orange zested fine (about 2 teaspoons) 
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsalted butter (cut into squares at room temperature – do not melt!)

3 large
1 tablespoon white wine (nothing too sweet – Pinot Grigio or something like that)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1 cup honey 
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice 

[APP USERS: Check out the step-by-step slideshow I put together for you!]

Directions
Click through the photos above to see each step.

In the bowl of a food processor or Kitchen Aide, combine flour, lemon and orange zest, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter.

Pulse or mix until all ingredients are together.

Add eggs, white wine and vanilla extract.

Pulse or mix until dough forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This makes your dough easier to work with.)  

Cut the dough into 4 equal-size pieces. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. 

Cut each piece of dough into 1/2-inch wide strips. 

Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. 

Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a marble.

Sprinkle flour on dough (or on your hands) as necessary to work with it.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way.

Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. 

In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Put one of the dough balls in to test. You don’t want them to fry too quick and burn or too slow or be greasy.)

Use a frying basket or a straining scoop to pull them out.

Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. 

Combine honey, sugar and lemon juice in a very large saucepan; bring to boil until sugar melted.

Dump the fried dough balls into the honey mixture and stir until coated. Use a good rubble spatula to mix so you don’t break the dough balls. 

Arrange like a wreath on a platter or in a bundt cake pan. 

Drizzle remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. 

Lightly sprinkle with colored sprinkle decorations to make it look like a wreath. 

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