Struffoli, strufoli, struffoli—Italian Honey Balls! A Neapolitan dessert my Grandma Micaletti brought to every Easter Sunday family celebration I can remember—since I was a little girl.
Grandma Micaletti, my dad’s mom, didn’t cook. She was a bakery girl. There never was a Struffoli recipe handed down in our family.
My mom’s family was from Abruzzi. The Easter lamb cake and baskets made of braided bread with eggs still in the shell covered with the braided bread, Ricotta pie and Shattone. We watched, helped and learned. But never Struffoli!
This year, in honor of Grandma Micaletti, I wanted to make the sticky honey balls covered with colorful candies. I didn’t even know the name Struffoli until Thursday, when Tara told me Struffoli in Italian means confetti! Duh. It looks like confetti convention!
Taking a lesson from Grandma… I called D’amato’s Italian Bakery on Grand Avenue in Chicago, they knew what I was talking about… they sell the ready-made Struffoli like Grandma used to bring on Easter. Sorry to say they don’t have a website, but I called them after a request from Toni on the East Coast and they said I could post their phone number and they would work with you. D’amato’s phone number is 1-312-733-5456.
I asked if I could just order the deep-fried puffballs for my assemblage? Motivated by my “fear of frying!”
They were a little surprised at my request but said OK! Jeanette, D’amato’s baker told me how to make the honey coating and an ancient cookbook of my mom’s guided me through the steps.
“Struffoli? You’re making sticky honey-balls?” Some of those sticky honey-balls were so hard… to quote my sister Carmen, “You were afraid you could break a tooth!”
Not these. The deep-fried dough balls from D’Amato’s were like tiny cream-puff pastry balls, not dense and hard.
But the finished Struffoli, like our memories is still sweet and sticky!
Struffoli Italian Honey Clusters
Order the deep-fried balls from an Italian bakery.
3 bags, (1½ pound bags) They are very light. (I had extra)
3 cups liquid honey
3 tablespoons sugar
3 (3 oz.) jars of Rainbow Nonpareil candies
Preheat oven 300˚ F.
Place balls in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes. Repeat until all deep-fried balls are warm.
In a 2 quart saucepan or skillet, cook the honey and sugar over low heat about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add deep-fried pieces.
Stir constantly until all the pieces are coated with the honey-sugar mixture.
Remove the coated pieces with a slotted spoon into a bowl.
Sprinkle with Nonpareils.
Remove to a large serving platter and arrange in large cone shaped mound.
Add more layers and sprinkle each layer.
Chill in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
The recipe says it will last up to a month.
Don’t you believe it…unless there are no kids around!