Struffoli (Italian honey dough balls)

    1 hour 30 min

    This traditional Italian sweet has different names in different regions: Struffoli in Naples area, which are among the most popular Christmas sweets; Cicerchiata in Abruzzi region, where you cannot miss them during Carnival time. The concept is simple, fried sweet dough balls, coated in caramelised honey. Tasty and long lasting, to make at the beginning of holiday season and to offer to friends and relatives coming over for holiday wishes.

    4 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 600g plain flour
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
    • 2ml (about 1/2 teaspoon) rum extract
    • 80g butter
    • zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 pinch salt
    • vegetable oil for deep frying
    • 500g honey
    • sugar sprinkles to decorate

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. In a bowl place the flour and gradually the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, rum extract, butter, lemon zest and salt. Mix to create a soft dough then cover in cling film and let stand for 30 minutes.
    2. Take some of the dough a make a thin log, as thin as your small pinkie finger, about 1/2cm. Cut and make small balls. While working, dust with flour that already made balls, to prevent sticking.
    3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. Place a few balls in a sieve, shake off the flour and dip in the hot oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Proceed the same way with remaining dough, frying in batches.
    4. Place the honey in a saucepan and cook on low heat until caramelised. To test, drop some honey in a glass of water, if ready, it will soon form a little ball. Add the little fried balls to the saucepan and gently coat in honey, stirring with a wooden spoon.
    5. Pass a serving plate under tap water and shake off the water. Transfer the balls to the serving plate and with damp hands or with a damp wooden spoon give the mix the shape of a ring or, simply, a dome. Dust with sugar sprinkles and/or with candied orange or lemon peels. Cool completely and serve. Store in airtight tin and enjoy up to 2 weeks.


    You can also shape the struffoli on a wet working surface and then transfer to a serving plate. Or you can make the ring shape transferring the mix on a ring cake mould lined with a baking parchment, always wet (some water will help with the shaping and prevent too much sticking).

    See it on my blog

    La Cucina di Nadia

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    Reviews in English (1)


    I thought these were supposed to be more like little doughnuts, but they turned out to be little cookies. No matter, though, they were delicious! I made them for my son’s ancestry holiday program at school and the plate was EMPTY after 5 minutes! The only change I made was to add about a cup of water to the dough because it was too crumbly as is. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and they were great! Thank you!  -  17 Dec 2018  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)