Christmas Dinner is over. You have been eating for about 24 hours straight, starting with the Feast of the Seven Fishes the night before. Dessert has come and gone, and you swear that you cannot eat another bite. And then, one of your aunts or cousins brings out a plate of her homemade struffoli — little balls of fried dough, glazed with honey — and you find that you can nibble just a bit longer. These go down very easily with an espresso or a glass of sweet wine, such as Marsala. — Sal Scognamillo, Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook.
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ Teaspoon baking powder
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- ½ Teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying and oiling the serving dish
- 1 Cup honey
- Nonpareils (colored sugar sprinkles), for garnish
- Maraschino cherries, for garnish
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.