Family Recipe: Prenulotti (A Sicilian Take on Struffoli)

Submitted by Marie of the Cancasci Family in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Enjoy this absolutely delicious family recipe for prenulatti, a Sicilian take on the more widely known struffoli (pictured above).  These honey-soaked pillows of fried dough are denser and longer than their Neopolitan counterpart, making them a truly decadent — and addictive — treat!

Who taught you this recipe?

My grandmother and great-uncle.  It was taught to them by their mother, who was from San Fratello, Sicily.

How long has this recipe been passed down in your family?

We just taught it to my niece and nephew, so five generations now (that we know of).

When did your family use this recipe?

Prenulotti was always a staple on Christmas Eve, but my grandmother would also make them for ordinary gatherings — like picnics or card night — because they were (and still are) a family favorite.

The second my grandmother would put the plate of prenulotti down, everyone’s hands would fly towards them.  We were lucky if they lasted more than five minutes before being gone!

What is your favorite memory of cooking this recipe?

The first time my grandmother taught my cousin and I to make them.  She let us warm the honey on the stove.  We were young — probably too young to use a burner — and we felt very grown up and important.

The most fun part was drizzling the honey over the little pieces of dough.  It was sticky and we were messy!  Our grandmother would constantly yell at us to stop licking our fingers and touching the food.

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4 oz. of sugar

3 eggs

3 oz. of Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening

4 oz. of milk, warmed

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 lbs. of flour

Honey (as topping)


To make the dough —

Melt the shortening and add the warm milk, set aside.

With an electric blender, beat the 3 eggs and sugar together until just blended.

Add the milk and shortening to the egg/sugar mixture.

Add the baking powder and flour a little at a time, folding it in until the dough is pliable.

Cooking Instructions:

Roll out the dough in lines as thin as your pinky finger and cut it into inch-long pieces.

Fry the pieces in a frying pan using more Butter Flavor Crisco.

When done, heat some honey in a saucepan and generously pour over the pieces.

Note:  Our family didn’t use sprinkles or candies (as pictured); however, the Neopolitan version — called struffoli — does.

*Be sure to serve prenulotti right away when they are nice and warm (even though they are still delicious once they cool, too).  If you are bringing this dish as a dessert to someone else’s party, just take the bottle of honey along to heat and drizzle right before serving.

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