Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hello everyone! I'm back from my much needed hiatus. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday week!!! I did!! The nicest time. Since I met my hubby, I have celebrated Christmas Eve with his family & my mom-in-law makes Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner. How many of my readers do this? It's a Southern Italian tradition that commemorates the wait for the birth of the baby Jesus. The preparation is exhausting for her & since I am allergic to shellfish, I cannot assist with the dinner. But I can create the dessert! And all she asked for was struffoli, another Southern Italian staple. I was happy to oblige. This is a little labor intensive but if you take it step by step, you can do it.

My favorite conversation with Mario Battali has been about Christmas, the Seven Fishes & ... Struffoli. I have done a couple of non-profit benefits with him & I see Mario some early mornings as he is traveling from Babbo to OTTO... So to honor Mario, I used his recipe:

(Honey Drenched Christmas Fritters)
adapted from Mario Battali via the Food Network

  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 6 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, plus 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSp orange juice
  • 4 c canola for frying
  • 2 c honey
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • rainbow non-pareils, for ornamentation

In a mixing bowl, place flour, eggs, yolk, zest of 1 lemon, orange zest & juice, salt, & mix well to form a firm dough, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in the refrigerator & allow to rest 30 minutes.
Remove from the refrigerator & cut golf ball-sized pieces of dough from the main batch. Roll each ball into a 1/2-inch thick dowel (rope) & cut each dowel into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball & continue until finished with all dough.
In a 12 to 14-inch skillet with at least 3-inch sides, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Drop enough balls in to cover about half of the surface of frying oil & cook until dark golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to turn them regularly, & expect them to puff up while cooking. As they finish, remove them to a tray covered with paper towels, & drain well. This should take at least 5 batches.
When all of the struffoli are cooked, heat the honey, lemon juice, & zest together in a wide 6 to 8 quart saucepan until quite warm, about 150 degrees F, & substantially thinner. Add struffoli to honey & stir carefully until well coated. Remove from heat & allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan, stirring regularly. 
Arrange on a large serving tray in a wreath shape (like I did, pictured). Sprinkle with powdered sugar & nonpareils & serve.

<3 Lishie


  1. Lish, I love your story you wrote here!! Even though I do not do Feast of the Seven Fishes, I LOVE seeing and reading about what others do on that day. I love the Mario Battali inspiration too. This recipe and story is so inspiring! Lish, this is so impressive that you did this recipe so beautifully! WOW, you are fantastic Lish!

  2. So, what do you eat on Christmas Eve since you are allergic to shellfish? Does she make a seperate dish for you?