Strufoli – pignolata al miele – Frameme~commonswiki CC BY-SA 3.0


For The Dough
3 ½ cups flour
One teaspoon baking powder
One tablespoon sugar
Four tablespoons salted butter (½ stick) soft at room temperature
Two large eggs
¼ cup of Marsala, or two tablespoons of liquor (cognac, vodka, etc.)
Flour for dusting

For frying
Canola or corn oil for frying

For the Icing
½ lb orange blossom honey
Zest of 1 orange
Two tablespoons of sugar
Grounded cinnamon

How to make the Pignolata:

Confection of sweet fried dumplings (sometimes chocolate coated) shaped in a mound or cone held together by caramelized sugar with liqueur.

The Dough

Mound flour on a flat surface and form a well or use a bowl. Mix into the well the butter, and the sugar, break the eggs, beat with a fork, and add the Marsala.  Start to blend the flour from the inside of the well, and keep incorporating the flour; add a few drops of water if needed to moisten the flour.
Using your hands, bring all the flour together to form a ball with the dough. Fold and press with the palm of your hands; if the dough is sticky, add some more flour when the dough forms a single mass, set aside. Clean your hand and working surface and discard scraps.
Dust the surface with flour and knead the dough by pushing it down firmly to the center, turning dough 90 degrees, and pressing down again: keep kneading until the dough is elastic and has a silky consistency. Knead for 4-5 minutes. Cover and rest dough for 20/30 minutes.
Divide dough into three pieces and roll out each piece of dough with a rolling pin to ½ inch thick.
Cut into strips about ½ inch. Roll and stretch each strip in the form of a breadstick about ¼ inch thick and cut into ¼ inch, to form small balls.

The Frying

Heat a heavy-duty pan with the oil at least 1 inch deep. When the oil reaches about 375 degrees, start to fry the balls. When the pignolata is golden (not brown) on all sides, transfer the little pastries to drain into a dish covered with paper towels.

The Finishing

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, zest of orange, and 1 cup of water.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
In a large saucepan, warm up the honey and add the sugar syrup. Mix it well.
Add the strufoli, and use a wooden spoon and turn until they are well coated with the honey and syrup mixture.
Place the little balls in a serving dish, piling up in the shape of a pine cone, and dust it with grounded cinnamon.
The pine cone in Sicilian is called pignu hence the name pignulata.

Serves 4-6

Regional recipe from Sicily

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.