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The Struffoli – a Neapolitan recipe

struffoli This is a simple dessert using few ingredients. It was dear to the heart of many people from Naples. It came to be prepared for occasions such as national holidays. It has a slightly strange name: “struffoli”. It is said that the name was derived from the Greek word, “strongulos”, which means “large round body” (in fact, struffoli take the form of little balls). The recipe, on the other hand, comes from a book of fabulous recipes using the ingredients that can be found in a house. We will begin with the preparation of the dough which will be fried.


400 g Flour
4 egg yolks
1 tsp pure alcohol
1 tsp sugar
a small amnt of butter
half lemon and half orange zest
a pinch of salt

With the ingredients mentioned above, make a dough of medium consistency, and leave it to rest for an hour. Cover with a cloth. Then, a little at a time, knead and roll the dough into long, thin sticks. Cut the sticks into pieces of half-centimetere width. Fry them in a generous hot oil. Since you used a lot of flour in preparation, pay attention to the cubes the moment you put them in the oil; do not put too many in together, because they will create plentiful foam which you will have to eradicate. When they are golden, put them on a piece of absorbant paper. Now it is time to make the topping!


300 g Honey
150 g Sugar
20 g Water
food coloring
50 g of the following: orange and lime candies
4 candied cherries

Put the ingredients in a pot with high sides (preferably one with a round bottom- stuff for every real chef). Put the honey and sugar in the pot with a little water and bring to a boil, ending before the foam disappears. Take care that the mixture does not turn yellow! Turn the flame down to low and cover the stuffoli balls with the topping. Mix well and make sure that all the struffoli are well covered. Put them on a plate and then douse them in cold water. (Don’t be afraid!) This gives them the shape of rings. Sprinkle with food colouring, the remaining candies, and the four cherries according to your artistic taste. The struffoli will last for 1 week. They improve with time.
If you prefer, make them a few days ahead of time, and keep them wrapped in cellophane. This recipe was tested and posted from a document about delicacies from “Napoli”. The verdict? Try them and tell me what you think!

This article has been translated into English by Alyssa Giangregorio, Katie Coale, Becky Beyer, students from Bard college. The original article is in Italian.

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