We recently wrote about Frank Sinatra’s favorite Italian Restaurant, Patsy’s in New York City, sharing recipes for some of Sinatra’s favorite dishes. Today, Chef Sal Scognamillo is sharing a family favorite recipe for Struffoli.
Stuffoli is a tasty treat, essentially little balls of fried dough that are glazed with honey. They’re perfect little indulgences and can be served as a light treat on Christmas day, following the Feast of Seven Fishes, an Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration and, because they don’t contain butter, can be served during the Feast itself. Chef Sal recommends pairing with espresso or a glass of sweet wine, like a Marsala.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a Christian celebration of the wait on Christmas Eve for the birth of Jesus. During the feast, seven different seafood dishes are served. In Italy, it’s known as Vigillia di Natale.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, large
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- As needed Vegetable oil, for frying and oiling the serving dish
- 1 cup honey
- As needed Nonpareils (colored sugar sprinkles), for garnish
- As needed Maraschino cherries, for garnish
- 1 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 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.
- 2 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.
- 3 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 ° 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.
- 4 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.