Merry Christmas! Only one day to go-do you have everything ready? Or have you already started celebrating? It seems like more people I know celebrate more than one Christmas-Matt and I will be celebrating pretty much all week long-starting tonight on Christmas Eve-I can’t wait!
Since we have so many celebrations, that means lots and lots of menu planning and lots and lots of desserts to be eaten! I made this struffoli with my family last year and it was so much fun having everyone join in to make it and it tasted wonderful-my dad said it was better than any bakery version he ever had! We liked making and eating this so much, that we’ll be having it again this year-and I can almost predict every year after that.
2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio (or water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Canola oil, for frying
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (optional)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional
To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using then peel.
For the dough: In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece of dough into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F (or test the temperature using a dough ball) In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts (if using) and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a large spoon or damp hands, arrange the struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle any remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar, if using. Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.
To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.
Source: Giada DeLaurentiis