Adapted from Giallo Zafferano
The fried dough balls can be made 1 week in advance and stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Glaze the dough balls and form the struffoli wreath several hours or up to 1 day before you want to serve it so the honey-coated dough balls have time to set.
- 3 Tablespoons (60 grams) butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3¾ cups + 1 Tablespoon (400 grams) 00 or all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier liquor (optional)
- Vegetable oil, for frying (the amount you use will depend on the size of your frying vessel)
To assemble the struffoli
- ½ cup (74 grams) slivered almonds
- ¾ cup (85 grams) chopped walnuts
- ½ cup (125 mL) honey
- Nonpareil sprinkles
- Glacé cherries
Make the fried dough balls
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, salt, lemon zest, Grand Marnier, and melted butter. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until a compact dough forms. Transfer the dough onto a board and cover with a clean dishcloth. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 hour at room temperature. After the dough has rested, cut it into 6-8 equal pieces with a sharp knife.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece into a long, even rope shape about 1 centimeter thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough rope into small pieces and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with a clean dish cloth. Keep the dough balls in a single layer to ensure they do not stick to each other. Repeat this process with the dough until all of it has been used to make the dough balls.
- Line a baking sheet with 2-3 layers of paper towel. Set by the stove top.
- In a cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pot, pour in enough vegetable oil to come up no more than ⅓ or halfway up the sides of the pot. The amount of oil you use will depend on the size of your frying vessel. Heat the oil until it registers 350℉ (180℃) on an oil/candy or instant-read thermometer. Working in batches, fry the dough balls until they are amber golden, stirring often to keep the dough balls from sticking to each other while they fry. If the oil bubbles while the dough balls are frying, simply keep stirring to prevent any oil from spilling over the edges of the pot and do not fry too many dough balls at once. Transfer the cooked dough balls to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool and dry. Repeat this process until all the dough balls are fried.
- Once all the dough balls are cooked and cooled completely, they can be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 week until ready to glaze and form the struffoli wreath.
Form the struffoli wreath
- Have the slivered almonds and chopped walnuts close to the stove top. Place a serving platter by the stove top.
- In a pot large enough to accommodate all the fried dough balls, heat the honey over medium-low heat until it is loose and warmed through completely, making sure it does not begin to boil or scorch. Turn off the heat and pour in all the fried dough balls, the slivered almonds, and the chopped walnuts. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the dough balls and nuts until they are thoroughly coated in the warm honey.
- Place a drinking glass upside down in the center of the serving platter. Using a large spoon, transfer the dough ball mixture onto the serving platter working evenly around the drinking glass and building the wreath gradually from the middle-outwards. Use slightly wet hands to adjust and compact the struffoli wreath if necessary. Carefully remove the drinking glass once all the dough balls have been transferred to the platter. Decorate with sprinkles, glacé cherries and/or dragées. Let the struffoli wreath sit at room temperature uncovered to allow the honey to cool and the dough balls to set into shape.
- Storage: Store lightly covered with wax paper or under a glass dome at room temperature for up to 1 week.