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    Homemade Struffoli Recipe with Honey and Pecans

    Published December 3, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This super festive recipe for Italian struffoli is little mini fried donuts that are then tossed with a bit of honey and pecans making them crazy delicious!

    Homemade Struffoli Recipe with Honey and Pecans on a plate and decorated with rosemary, sprinkles and cranberry

    Struffoli, just like my Panettone Bread Recipe, is an incredibly classic Italian dessert that is most often served up over the holidays.  They’re incredibly easy to make and you can customize them a bit, depending on which holiday you are making them for.  Follow along below for my foolproof way on how to make this awesome recipe.

    What Is It

    Struffoli is a traditional Neopolitano dessert consisting of sweet fried dough balls that are crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle and are often tossed with honey and molded into a specific shape like a ring or a mound.  They’re really smaller versions of a classic zeppole recipe.

    Obviously my recipe was for Christmas which is why it is decorated like a wreath with lots of garnishes.

    Struffoli History

    While popularly Italian the original root word struffolo is Greek, stróngylos, which means “round in shape.”  Italy imported this recipe back in the Greek Magna Grecia era, so it’s been around for a long time.

    Ingredients

    Struffoli only consists of 5 ingredients, that’s it.  There are a few other things needed for the glaze on top but the dough is really simple to make and only has few ingredients.

    • Eggs
    • Butter
    • Sugar
    • Salt
    • Flour

    How to Make It

    1. You can make this recipe from start to finish in under 1 hour, it’s that easy.
    2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, melted butter and salt until combined in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
    3. Incorporate the flour in and using the hook knead together the dough for 5 minutes on medium speed.
    4. Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes

    When it comes to rolling out the dough, you want to divide the dough into 4 big pieces and then individually roll them out using your hands into long ropes that are about ½” thick.  Then simply using a knife or a bench knife –>> (Aff link) cut them into small pieces and roll them into little balls.

    If you have a deep fryer you can use then I would say use it, but you definitely do not need to.  The deep fryer will allow you to fry more at one time making the cooking process a bit shorter.  Simply fry the dough balls in batches in canola or vegetable oil for a few minutes or until lightly browned at 350°.

    fried dough balls on parchment paper

    Drain the fried dough balls and drain on a rack or on paper towels.

    The Topping

    As stated earlier, these are often tossed in honey but I took it a step further and add some pecans to the mix as well.

    fried dough balls in a bowl being tossed with honey and pecans

    • Start by making a simple syrup and boil together 2 parts sugar to 1 part water until the sugar has dissolved.
    • Whisk in the honey and pecans and then toss in a large bowl with the fried struffoli and mold into your desired shape.

    I added things like star-shaped sprinkles, frozen cranberries, and rosemary sprigs to make it look more like a Christmas Wreath.  The decoration portion is up to you.

    drizzling honey on a struffoli wreath on a plate

    How to Store It

    Keep them covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  My recommendation is to reheat them slightly before serving so they soften up a bit.

    Recipe Chef Notes + Tips

    • Kneading the dough is a crucial step to incorporating the ingredients and making sure you form strong gluten from the flour so it does it for at least 5 minutes.
    • It’s important to make sure you let the dough rest for the full 30 minutes so that it is not overworked resulting in a tough dough.
    • Fry the dough in batches so that they do not stick together and form big clumps of dough balls
    • To enhance the flavor further you can also whisk in some orange or lemon zest into the simple syrup and honey mixture for a tasty citrus flavor.
    • As the struffoli topping cools down, the dough balls will become very sticky which is perfect when forming your desired shape, a ring or a mound.
    • Remember to cover it when storing it at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • When re-serving it, slightly reheat it in the microwave or in the oven covered in foil for a few minutes at 350° to soften up the dough and loosen up the simple syrup honey topping.

    a festive struffoli dough ball wreath recipe

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Homemade Struffoli Recipe with Honey and Pecans

    Bring out the Italian in you with this super tasty Homemade Struffoli Recipe with Honey and Pecans that is perfect for the holidays!
    Servings: 20
    Prep Time: 40 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Dough:

    • 6 eggs
    • ¼ cup of melted unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon of sugar
    • pinch of Kosher salt
    • 3 ½ cups of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
    • canola oil for frying

    For the Sauce and Toppings:

    • 2/3 cup of sugar
    • ½ cup of water
    • 1/3 cup of honey
    • 1/3 cup of chopped pecans
    • optional garnishes: sprinkles, frozen cranberries, rosemary leaves

    Instructions

    • Dough: add the eggs, butter, sugar, and salt to a standing mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Next, switch to the hook attachment and add in the flour and mix on medium speed until combined and then mix for 3 to 4 minutes to knead.
    • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
    • Cut the dough into 4 pieces and then roll out each one like a long rope about a ½” thick. Then, cut the rope again into ½” pieces and roll them in your hands to form them to a ball.
    • Place them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkle on a little flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
    • Next heat the oil in a pot or fryer to 350°. Cook the struffoli balls a little a time for a few minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle. Set aside on a paper towel to dry.
    • Sauce: add the sugar and water to a small pot and bring to a boil and then cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, which takes about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the honey.
    • Next, add the struffoli to a large bowl along with the simple syrup honey and pecans, and mix until combined.
    • Form the struffoli into a wreath shape on a plate and garnish with optional garnishes.
    • Serve!

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • Kneading the dough is a crucial step to incorporating the ingredients and making sure you form strong gluten from the flour, so do it for at least 5 minutes.  
    • It's important to make sure you let the dough rest for the full 30 minutes so that it is not over worked resulting in tough dough.
    • Fry the dough in batches so that they do not stick together and form big clumps of dough balls
    • To enhance the flavor further you can also whisk in some orange or lemon zest into the simple syrup and honey mixture for a tasty citrus flavor.
    • As the struffoli topping cools down, the dough balls will become very sticky which is perfect when forming your desired shape, a ring or a mound. 
    • Remember to cover it when storing it at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • When re-serving it, slightly reheat it in the microwave or in the oven covered in foil for a few minutes at 350° to soften up the dough and loosen up the simple syrup honey topping.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 176kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 20mgPotassium: 51mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 142IUCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American, Italian
    Author: Chef Billy Parisi