Struffoli or Honney Balls are ancient Christmas treats from the Campania region. Struffoli is a typical Neapolitan Christmas dessert. The Struffoli are small dough balls, crunchy on the outside and light inside, caramelized with honey. “Struffolo,” the name derives from the verb “rub,” which is the movement made when you roll the dough before slicing it into small pieces. They are perfect for giving for Christmas and a must-have at Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch. And like any traditional recipe, there are several versions.
Here is Giovanna’s recipe for Neapolitan Christmas Struffoli and knuckles:
300 g flour
Two seed oil eggshells* (this is the measure Joan uses to measure oil)
One tablespoon lard
One tablespoon aniseed liqueur
One pinch of salt
One tablespoon sugar
Zest of one lemon
For the syrup:
Zest of a mandarin
Zest of a lemon
Two tablespoons sugar
Mandarin peel, cut into small pieces
A splash of aniseed liquor
For dressing the Honney balls:
Make a fountain of flour; in the middle, add the rest of the ingredients.
Then slowly incorporate the flour into the well by hand as you beat the eggs and the other liquid ingredients with a fork.
Work the mixture until you get a smooth dough, form it into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it rest for a good 30 minutes or so.
After the rest period, detach small portions and form wires about 7-8 mm in diameter.
Cut into small dumplings and long strips so you can make a ribbon.
Fry them in hot oil until golden.
Let it drain over a paper towel.
Directions on how to prepare the syrup:
Heat honey, sugar zest of a mandarin and a lemon, and a splash of aniseed liquor in a saucepan.
When liquefied, lower the heat to a minimum and soak the Struffoli, turning them well.
After that, remove them from the honey with a slotted spoon and arrange them nicely on a plate.
Decorate the Struffoli with colored sugar sprinkles and Candied cherries.