Struffoli/Pignolata (aka Honey Balls)

READY IN: 45mins
YIELD: 1 batch




  • In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar, grated lemon peel (if desired), and 1 1/2 teaspoons oil until foamy.
  • Gradually add flour and baking powder.
  • *Using your hands, mix and knead the mixture well, forming a dough.
  • Knead the dough until smooth.
  • (*A Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook may be used for mixing/kneading the dough).
  • Form dough into a ball.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide dough into 8 to 10 smaller balls.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a"rope" about a 1/2 inch wide, and 10 inches long.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/3 inch pieces.
  • (Optional, pieces may be rolled into balls about the size of marbles).
  • Dust cut pieces with a bit of flour.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan or deep fat fryer to a temperature of 375°F.
  • Shake off excess flour, and fry the bits of dough (in small batches) until puffy and golden brown.
  • DO NOT crowd the frying pan or fryer.
  • Remove each batch of balls with a slotted spoon and place on heavy brown paper (or paper towels) to drain.
  • Continue frying until all the balls have been fried.
  • Place drained, fried balls into a large mixing bowl (or disposable roasting pan).
  • Pour the honey into a large frying pan, and heat until bubbly, remove from heat.
  • (Honey may be thinned with 2 to 3 Tablespoons of water to make a less sticky/sweet coating).
  • Stir in grated orange peel (if desired) and pour honey mixture over the fried dough balls.
  • With a wooden spoon, gently stir and toss the balls until all are evenly coated with honey.
  • Using hands (or a spoon), place honey coated balls on to a large plate (or pie tin), mounding them into a cone/pyramid shape.
  • Sprinkle with colored sprinkles.
  • NOTE: If struffoli are too sticky to handle while shaping, slightly wet hands with cold water to help keep them from sticking to your hands while shaping.