Struffoli is a classic Neapolitan Christmas dessert that is traditionally made up of fried balls of dough tossed with honey. Giada’s struffoli recipe reveals a De Laurentiis family secret: Use 2/3 fried dough balls and 1/3 hazelnuts so each bite is a surprise.
Start by making the dough in a food processor, using lemon zest and orange zest to help make the dessert crisper and lighter. Add butter at room temperature so that it mixes into the flour really well. The consistency will be a bit chunky before the addition of 3 eggs, a teaspoon vanilla extract and a tablespoon dry white wine. Mix it together until you can scoop out the dough.
After refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes, cut it into sections and then pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut, then fry until lightly golden. To make the sauce, bring honey, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture.
After the honey mixture has cooled a bit, pack the dough balls and hazelnuts on a platter around a glass coated in vegetable oil cooking spray. This will help the dessert form its shape and the glass will be able to be removed easily.