December 17, 2016 09:37 AM

Maria Papa rolls out an Italian treat for the holidays, making her Struffoli with Dan in the Let's Eat Kitchen.

Maria Papa’s Struffoli Recipe

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Struffoli is a traditional Italian dessert that shows up around the holidays. It is made up of small balls of pastry dough that are fried and covered in honey. 

For the Dough

2.5 cups cake flour

zest of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1/2 orange

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup rum

4 large eggs

2 Tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp real vanilla extract

Vegetable oil for frying

Either in a food processor or manually by making a well with the dry ingredients (flour, lemon & orange zests, sugar, salt, baking powder) and adding the rest of the ingredients to the middle and incorporating in by hand, mix together until a firm dough forms.

Once dough becomes a playdough-like consistency, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes.

Next, separate the dough into 6 pieces of approximately the same size. If your dough is crumbly, add small amounts of ice water and knead it into the dough for a more pliable consistency. Roll each of these pieces of pastry dough out until it is about the same thickness as a pinky finger. Cut each of these strips of dough into 1/2 inch pieces.  Roll each piece with the palm of the hand to about the size of a marble, and deep fry until golden brown, just 2-3 minutes. Set fried pastry balls on paper towels to absorb excess oil. It is best to fry the dough balls in small batches to have more control over the process.

For the Honey Glaze

2 cups honey

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs lemon juice


In a large sauce pan (6 - 8 quart), add honey, sugar and lemon juice and heat on a medium setting until the consistency is runny. Take pan off the stove and add the dough balls, gently folding them in until all of the dough balls are covered with the honey glaze mixture.  

Transfer the finished Strofolli to a serving tray. The finished product can be molding into any shape desired, even a Christmas tree for the holidays. The most common are pyramid shape and a wreath shape. In order to form a uniform circle for a wreath, take a drinking glass and spray the other part of the entire glass with cooking spray. Then, turn glass upside-down in the center of the serving tray and add Strofolli around the glass to form a wreath. Put a little oil on your hands to mold the Strofolli evenly around the glass. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles as desired.  Once the Strofolli has firmed up (about an hour), gently remove glass from the center of the wreath. 

Strofolli can be made 1-2 days before serving, but it’s almost impossible not to pick off a little ball for tasting … again and again and again … until it’s all gone.


Joel Landas

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