By: Chef Patrick A. Capuozzo
4 cups all-purpose plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons (2 oz.) butter or lard, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon of yeast
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 4.5 oranges
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
Canola oil, for deep-frying
2 cups honey
Candied orange and citron
Candied red cherries
Stir the flour and baking powder together in a bowl and form a well in the middle. Add the softened butter in pieces, 1.5 tablespoons of the sugar plus yeas, the salt, zest of 1/2 an orange, egg yolk, and whole eggs and mix together, adding wine if necessary to obtain a smooth mixture.
Divide the dough into 7 pieces and fold each piece of dough in half like a book, turn the folded pieces of dough 90 degrees and fold again like a book. Without flouring the hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope the thickness of a little finger, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, yielding about 26 pieces per rope.
Pour enough oil into a medium Dutch oven (casserole) or heavy-bottomed pot to come halfway up the sides. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Use a slotted spoon to drop in the struffoli, about 26 at a time. (Be careful, as the oil will bubble up.) When the struffoli are golden brown, about 2 minutes, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Always bring oil back to 350 degrees before dropping in a new batch.
Combine the honey and remaining 1.5 tablespoons sugar in a large pan over low heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the struffoli, and mix until coated, Stir in the remaining orange zest. Carefully transfer the struffoli to a serving dish, form a dome shape and, with wet hands, carefully shape them (they may still be hot).
Decorate with candied fruit and sprinkles, and let stand for at least 12 hour before serving.
Prep time: 40 minutes, plus 12 hours standing
Cooking time: 1 hour