Hey there!! Are you getting ready for Christmas?
We are (hopefully some of you have already given a look to our festive collection), and we couldn't help but making some really traditional (south) Italian treats!!
I am talking about "struffoli"!! Never heard about them??
Keep reading then, and if at the end you cannot wait one minutes more and want to try them, I cannot be more happy to make them for you!!
But first thing first, here is what I am talking about... Enjoy!
“Struffoli” are one of the most typical and traditional sweets of Naples, and they surely represent one of the characteristics of the Christmas period recipes.
A mountain of small fried balls of dough decorated with "diavulilill" (colored rounded sprinkles) and a golden honey flavored glaze. Despite the fact that you can find them in every pastry shop in Naples - during these festivities, struffoli were not created by Neapolitans.
The recipe is very ancient, dating back to the time of the foundation of Parthenope (old name of Naples) by the Greeks, who actually made them for the first time. The name derives from the greek word "strongoulos" (which means "rounded") and the term "pristòs" (which means "cut"). Someone else says that it derives from "rub", the gesture that is made to work the dough to mold it to a cylinder, before cutting it into small balls.
The recipe has spread throughout southern Italy, sometimes with a different name: in Rome and Palermo they are called "strufoli", with only one "F"; in Umbria and Abruzzo, instead, they are called "cicerchiata" because they have the shape of the "cicerchie", a legume similar to chickpeas...
In the recipe, everything is studied to perfection, from the ingredients to the preparation and to the aroma that spreads into your house when you fry the little balls (it's better if I don't think about it... So yummy!!). Each struffolo must be strictly small so all its surface is then embraced by honey, which must be abundant, gaining in flavor and quality.
You may not know that honey is - in the mythology - the symbol of "sweetness" and in fact the body of the Jesus is called "rock giving honey". Is it then a case that Struffoli are a typical Christmas treat?
Once, they were prepared in convents and then donated to noble families who had performed acts of charity and generous donations.
In each Neapolitan home, the recipe is handed down from generation to generation and all the ingredients play an important role for the final result: from the glazed honey to the “diavolilli", to the famous “cucuzzata” (candied pumpkin) used to decorate (it is impossible to find it here in London, so you have to make it on your own!).
My personal recipe belongs to my grandma, who used to make struffoli every Christmas for the whole family and friends. It was a tradition, and my dad still makes them every year just like she used to. I think it's also a way to remember her...
I can assure you that once you try them, you really cannot stop and one after one you will find yourself eating an entire plate of struffoli!!
Time to say goodbye, but remember: you can't buy happiness but you can buy a cake. And it's kinda the same thing!