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.