Author: Robert Angelone
  • 4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup anisette
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Cups peanut or canola oil or vegetable shortening
  • For the Glaze:
  • 3 Cups liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • For the Decoration:
  • multi-colored nonpareils
  • Jordan almonds or toasted pignoli nuts
  1. Mix the flour with the cloves in a bowl and move to a large work area on a counter. Make a well in the center of the flour mix. Work in the butter, eggs, Anisette, and vanilla with a fork, then your fingers to mix it thoroughly. Knead until a soft, pliable dough forms, about 5 to 10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is sticky or a little Anisette if it is too dry. Shape into a ball, place in a bowl, and cover with a damp cloth; let rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Keeping most of the dough under the damp cloth to prevent it from drying, tear off a small piece with your hands and roll it on the counter with your hands into a 1/2"-thick log. Cut into 1/2" pieces with a sharp knife. Make one batch at a time just before cooking. Repeat until all the dough has been cut and shaped.
  2. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F (use a candy thermometer to measure and maintain temperature) in a deep pan or wide pot.
  3. Fry the dough in four or five batches until it is golden all over and nicely puffed, about 3 minutes per batch. Be very careful putting the pieces into the oil as it may splatter and cause serious burns. Use a flat slotted spoon (chefs call this a spider) to gently lower a portion into the oil. Cook only enough as can fit on the large slotted spoon at a time, not piled.
  4. Watch for light coloring. If not golden brown on all sides, keep the pieces moving around with your slotted spoon until all are evenly cooked.
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon to a tray lined with paper towels. Alternatively, use a clean paper bag lined with paper towels. Transfer to a bowl. This is the struffella.
  6. Warm the honey in a 2-quart saucepan with the sugar. Bring to a boil to ensure that the sugar is completely melted and caramelized. As soon as it stops bubbling, add the orange extract and stir. Using a smaller slotted spoon, put the cooled struffella into the pot with the honey mixture and cook gently over a low heat. Gently use the slotted spoon to toss the struffella until completely coated in honey. Transfer spoons full at a time to a plate using the slotted spoon. Sprinkle with non pareils and garnish with either Jordan almonds or pignoli nuts, if desired. Keep preparing the struffella in honey until you have enough for your needs, decorating each time you have added a spoonful.
  7. Store the struffella in an airtight tin, or in a plastic freezer bag, for up to 1 month. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle the top with more nonpareils.
Struffella freeze well, but not coated in honey.

The caramelization of sugar in the honey creates a sticky, harder coating. Orange flower water or orange extract adds a delicious flavor to the honey.
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